By any conventional or historical measure, the recent breakthrough between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain is a good thing, and the Trump administration deserves its share of praise for it. The refusal of much of the media to take this moment seriously only lends credibility to President Trump’s complaints that the media is out to get him. Who does that serve?
Just give Trump his due. This happened on his watch. He helped it happen. And if he were any other president, the media would have acknowledged, perhaps still grudgingly, that this is—or at least could be—a very big deal.
More importantly, whatever your view of Trump (readers know I’m not a fan), reducing what’s happening in the Middle East to a pro-Trump or anti-Trump narrative is myopic. Much like his 2016 presidential run, Trump’s 2020 Middle East success is a product of timing. Trump couldn’t have won the nomination in 2012 or any of the other years he flirted with running. Similarly, the Abraham Accords couldn’t have been achieved four or eight years ago because conditions weren’t ripe for it.
Historically speaking, a lot of credit goes to Barack Obama. In much the same way that Neville Chamberlain and his policy of appeasement were partly responsible for WWII, Obama’s disastrous Iran deal led the Arab world to re-evaluate its priorities. Shiite Iran wants to dominate the Sunni-majority Middle East. Saudi Arabia fears that the Iranians want to be the caretaker of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, both of which are located in Saudi Arabia.