Mike Pompeo, Trump Sycophant but Smart, Is an Immediate Threat to the Middle East

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will arrive in Israel Wednesday with Iran, COVID-19 and the Israeli annexation of Palestinian settlements on the public agenda – and one large looming unspoken item likely to shape the conversation. Much like Marisa Tomei’s character Mona Lisa Vito in the movie "My Cousin Vinny," all the participants will be able to hear the ticking of a clock that means time is running out for any big plans they may have had together.

If political polls and the state of deepening crisis in the United States are any indication, the Trump crazy train is likely to be leaving the station next January and with it, the opportunity for Benjamin Netanyahu, his new partner, Benny Gantz, and the Israeli right, to cut a deal with American leaders who share their extreme views.  

Donald Trump’s rival, Joe Biden, who has steadily lead Trump in national polls and is leading him in polls in key swing states, and his Democratic Party colleagues are likely to usher in a return to an Obama era-like chill in U.S. relations with Israel’s ruling coalition. 

Or to put it in terms that the evangelical Pompeo might prefer, the participants in the meetings this week, are going to be grappling with the possibility to that the Trump Rapture is coming and that soon the President, his evangelical side-kicks like Vice President Mike Pence and Pompeo, and his advisors who support the Israeli hard right like son-in-law Jared Kushner, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and megadonor Sheldon Adelson, will all disappear from American political life.  

They will not, it seems, likely be lifted to political heaven, and for some – like Trump and Kushner – the world to which they are transported may look more like a courthouse, but they will be done, nonetheless. 

A placard with a picture of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and his rival-turned-partner Benny Gantz, lies on the street during a demonstration in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, May 2, 2020.AFP

The consequences of such a transformation must be crystal clear to Netanyahu, who suffered mightily from political frostbite during the Democrats’ last time in office. 

Trump, of course, could win re-election. But with American facing its worst public health crisis since the 1918 flu pandemic and its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression – with the chances of a recovery from either before November looking remote, Bibi, Benny and Mike are all going to know that it’s quite possible a big change is coming.