Even before the book was published, excerpts were spreading across the media.It’s Bob Woodward’s Fear, reflecting numerous conversations with insiders about the reality of the Trump White House.It fits what’s been apparent from presidential tweets, and extemporaneous comments later modified by aides.And it’s reinforced by an anonymous op-ed in the NY Times, written by a senior official who both praises tax reform, deregulation, and a more robust military, yet describes flip flops on issues of policy, a limited attention span, and continuing efforts of senior aides to control what happens despite presidential efforts.The man seems to be a loose cannon. Aides describe him as woefully uninformed about the issues he comments upon, as issuing orders that are ignored, having materials prepared then not noticing when someone takes them from his desk before they can be signed. Aides seem to be in a fight among themselves, while he floats above it, sometimes kept from commenting, and sometimes commenting beyond what his minders have thought they have taken care of.Yet he is the President, and backed up by party control of the House and Senate, with the latter likely to remain more than one-third Republican and thus save him from impeachment.He also has support. Woodward’s book may not bring down his presidency. Trump has ridiculed it, and we’ll be hearing from others who attribute it to a left leaning cabal that has opposed Trump from the get go.Government continues. Department Secretaries ridiculed by Trump remain in office. Programs continue. At least some of them reflect the tilt to the right identified with Trump. Armed force has been employed in Syria and Afghanistan, with both places seeming beyond the edge of what the President concerns himself intimately.Is he nothing more than an oddity of American politics?He managed his way through the primaries, and won the electoral college if not the popular vote.Since then he has entertained, angered, and/or pleased his various constituencies. He’s nearly half way though his first term, with no obvious replacement apparent for 2020.Here Bibi seems secure politically, despite police and prosecutors inching closer. We’re hearing about the latter part of 2019, or even 2020 as the date of an indictment. Meanwhile he’s in the middle of policymaking, quite different from his American friend.The IDF has admitted to some 200 strikes into Iranian sites in Syria over the course of several years. Seemingly Bibi has achieved a green light from the Russians, no matter that the IDF’s efforts are at odds with their cooperation with Iran. There are also close ties with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Gulf States. Palestinians squawk, but do no more in an organized fashion.Paraguay’s return of its embassy to Tel Aviv appears to be the work of a disassociated Latin American government, isolated in the lower part of that continent.How much is a product of Bibi’s management?There is criticism from the left and from the right. All told, however, his policy seems to be well established.Lots of American Jews are unhappy with both Bibi and Donald. Bibi is closely linked with Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox parties, which limit what he can do for religious non-Orthodox Jews. Their rabbis are critical, but most of them—and their congregations--do not vote in Israel.Trump has pleased Bibi’s constituency with his actions in support of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and comments plus action to reduce American support for Palestinians claiming the status of refugees. Those actions dwarf Bibi’s concern for American Jews.Trump’s Ambassador to Israel has praised Trump for “slaying the sacred cow of the calcified thinking that has held back progress on the Palestinian front.”David Friedman is an Orthodox Jew, and expresses the core of Israel’s support for Bibi and Donald.There’s lots of anger from Donald Trump about Woodward and the NY Times. Hard to know how this’ll play out.
בנתיים, שנה טובה לכלכם