Taking stock of the president’s foreign policy over the past eight years, Yaakov Amidror argues that it has made the Middle East more volatile and Israel less secure:
In [President Obama’s] view, many of Washington’s international failures stemmed from the fact that it had not tried to improve ties with its adversaries. . . . He believed that addressing people from the heart would be reciprocated. This was also the logic that drove his attempt to promote a new rapport with Russia. Eight years later, it is hard to say the world has repaid Obama in kind. The world is not a better, more democratic place; nor does it favor the U.S. in any way. This is especially true in the Middle East, but the sentiment is shared elsewhere as well.
Moreover, the U.S. rollback . . . has made its allies wary of their aggressive neighbors. . . . Obama is leaving behind a world far more dangerous than the one with which he was entrusted as leader of the most powerful country on earth—a title he managed to compromise seriously. . . .
[As far as Israel is concerned, the] outgoing administration turned settlement construction in Judea and Samaria into the key issue with regard to the . . . peace process. It was nothing short of an obsession, and the issue by which any progress would rise or fall. Washington refrained from pressuring Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in any way, even when he failed to agree to the 2014 U.S. framework to reignite the talks. . . . The administration thereby lost an opportunity of possibly historic proportions to advance the peace talks, while the Israeli government—and a Likud government at that—was more willing than ever to promote it. . . . Furthermore, the way in which the Obama administration handled the issue of settlements made Abbas climb up a very tall tree. It will be hard for him to climb down from such a height toward future negotiations.
As for the future under Donald Trump:
[A]s far as one can understand [the incoming administration’s] positions on these issues, it appears that with regard to settlement construction and Iran’s nuclear program, Israel is likely to find a far more sympathetic ear. . . . [I]t is very important that Trump fulfill his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This would be a clear signal of U.S, commitment to Israel and recognition of Jerusalem (or the west side of it at least) as its capital. After the outgoing administration’s stunt at the Security Council and John Kerry’s settlement speech, the decision to move the embassy to the Israeli capital will carry even greater significance.