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Do our Gulf and Israeli friends still feel as confident about this president as they did a short time ago? If so, let me offer two big reasons why they should not.
The first is that the president is busily torching the same international alliances that have served as the backbone of U.S. power in the post-war era, and this will affect the ability of the United States to work in the Middle East.
In 2014, for example, largely through the hard work of Brett McGurk and other U.S. diplomats, the United States put together a coalition of 69 nations to defeat the Islamic State—which included literally every nation in Western Europe aside from Switzerland. At the very least, that coalition lent the United States legitimacy as it went about waging yet another military campaign in the Middle East. But many of these nations have made tangible contributions to the military campaign as well: As of two days ago, eight other countries apart from the United States and Iraq had conducted air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq, and 11 other countries had done the same in Syria. These allies and partners help share the financial burden, as well, of a campaign that costs $13.1 million each day to execute.
Now try to imagine, if you will, President Trump putting together a similarly large and burden-sharing coalition in the Middle East.