In the 1980s, it became fashionable to fantasize that a successful business man could run for President and solve America's problems. I remember the name Lee Iacocca being floated as a possible contender. Iacocca had turned Chrysler Motors around when it came close to crashing. He became one of those celebrity businessmen that we are told to admire. He wrote books, he appeared on chat shows and made magazine covers. If he could turn Chrysler Motors around, why not America? It was seriously suggested that he should run for President. America has always hungered for a strong, no nonsense leader.It helps if you are a media friendly figure.
The problem is, being a success in the boardroom does not necessarily make you an effective politician. You need a completely different skillset. You need to build alliances, you need to carry people with you and you need to articulate a vision of where you want to take your electorate. Franklin D Roosevelt did that, as did Abraham Lincoln and John F Kennedy. So far, Donald Trump has not proved that he has the skills to do the job. President Trump has not passed one piece of legislation since he's been in office, even though the Republicans control both houses of Congress. Being President requires more than issuing tweets, signing proclamations and firing up your base. In many ways, Trump has shown that he is an amateur especially on the world stage.
Last week Trump announced that he is was recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital. This decision only pleased the Israeli government and the Christian Right. Everyone else in the Arab world and in Europe have objected to this move. The Palestininian leadership have denounced this decision as it covers East Jerusalem, which they regard as their capital. I wonder if Trump's Secretary of State Rex Tillerson argued against it.Surely there were discussions about the repercussions about the White House's decision?
The Palestinians have said that they can no longer rely on the United States to be an honest broker in any peace negotiation. What if the moderate leader Mahmoud Abbas is toppled as he is no longer regarded as effective? What if he is replaced by someone more hardline, who is friendlier to Iran?The ripple effect of Trump's decision could inflame an already volatile region. We could be looking at another intifada in the occupied West Bank. Maybe that's what Trump wanted.
It's one thing to be a business tycoon who can bully and bluster underlings and colleagues. Being a statesmen is another matter all together. Trump's got a really steep learning curve.