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Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Trump’s First 100 Days of Middle East Policy Offer Significant Cause for Concern
Press Release

RELEASE: Trump’s First 100 Days of Middle East Policy Offer Significant Cause for Concern

Washington, D.C. — The first 100 days of any presidency represent a work in progress—and, if a president hopes to succeed, a vital window to reflect on what has worked and what has not. To date, President Donald Trump’s actions in the Middle East have neither followed through on his most reckless rhetoric nor delivered wholesale departures from his predecessor’s policies. But there are troubling shifts in emphasis that, unless corrected, risk longer-term damage to U.S. interests—and offer little in the way of vision, values, or consistent strategy.

In an issue brief released today, the Center for American Progress looks at Trump’s policies in the Middle East.

“In his first 100 days, President Trump is reckoning with reality and setting aside for now his most extreme campaign promises,” said Daniel Benaim, CAP Senior Fellow and author of the paper. “Across the board, however, he is intensifying military strikes without connecting them to larger strategies to resolve conflicts, let alone to leave stability in their wake. He has sought to repair America’s regional partnerships but done so by offering reassurance without demanding greater responsibility to address domestic and regional drivers fueling instability. Meanwhile, Trump—whose morally and legally dubious travel ban damaged America’s moral standing—is proposing to gut America’s nonmilitary capabilities to address the region’s complex challenges.”

While 100 days is too early for any definitive judgment of a president’s record, it is not too soon to begin detecting common themes and trends. The most encouraging has been the walking back of some of Trump’s most egregious campaign rhetoric. More concerning have been his chaotic process, embrace of intensified military strikes without commensurate strategy, lack of clarity regarding larger goals for the region, and proposed budget cuts that would cripple American diplomacy and development. As the report notes, Trump is offering short-term fixes for generational challenges.

The report was released in conjunction with a panel event to be held today at 12:00 pm ET. To view the livestream click here.

Click here to read the brief.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.