7 ways to interpret Donald Trump’s Jerusalem announcement

Is it a distraction from failings at home or is America’s 45th president doing it for the sake of it ?

In a move that shocked the world on Thursday, US president Donald Trump announced that the US would be recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as reported by the BBC. Despite the fact we should probably know better, the so-called leader of the free world continues to surprise us in new and contentious ways. The move has been widely condemned by world leaders in a sign that Donald Trump is going against the grain.

But how can this be interpreted? Is Trump doing causing controversy to antagonise the mainstream or is there a calculated motive behind the move?

1. For the sake of controversy and news coverage

One simple explanation is that he is doing it to stick out and grab the headlines. This cannot be ruled out as the US president has a history of saying and doing the controversial.

In the run up to the 2016 election, he was the out-of-the-box clown without a hope in hell of winning the presidency. Now that the his controversies are continuing in power, it’s possible that he is doing it for the coverage. The old quote that there’s “no such thing as bad publicity” must be on page one of the Trump handbook in bold, bigly writing.

3. He has no clue what’s going on

Is the announcement bold? Yes. Reckless? Probably. Nonetheless, the decision could be based on the premise that it would show the world that America can do what it wants when it wants. If this is the case, Trump's announcement would chime well with the values of many of the so-called “left behind” voters who want to “Make America Great Again”. The long-term consequences of this could be deeply damaging, but in the short-run, America is showing that it can shift the geopolitical climate.

4 A big, fat distraction

Another interpretation is that The Donald has no clue what he’s doing. On a basic level, he must have some grasp of the situation, but it’s possible that he has yet to get to grips with the full-scale of the issues in the Middle East and just how controversial his latest move is being percieved.

Perhaps following the backlash he has now realised this, but could his stubbornness be preventing him from making a U-turn?

5. To “deliver”

Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital could be one massive distraction from failures at home. True, the Republican tax cuts Trump recently passed were seen as a major success for his administration, but his failure to scrap Obama-care is one of many signs that Donald Trump is facing an uphill battle. Trump’s decision over Jerusalem could be a way to distract his country’s media – and the world’s – from his failings on US soil.

6. All the above

It’s possible that there is no ulterior motive to Donald Trump’s decision and that every word in his speech on this issue is true. According to CNN, Trump said he was delivering and that,

"Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel's capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do."

Perhaps he is actually being motivated by the logic outlined in his speech.

And stuck to his guns.

Humans are complex creature, and to the regret of many Democrats (as not being a human would make him ineligible to be president - we assume!) Donald Trump is human too. Human-made decisions can be multi-layered and even logically paradoxical, so it could be interpreted that Donald Trump has considered all arguments above and thought, “yes, I agree with all that.”

But here we are.


Then again, it’s possible that none of these interpretations are correct. Donald Trump’s real motives could be too complex and calculated – or even too simple – for us to understand.

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