Netanyahu, Trump and Putin: A love story

The Israeli prime minister has worked hard to grow his political bromance with the presidents of Russia and the US.

Netanyahu has had 5 formal meetings with Trump in two years and 13 with Putin in the past four year

Marwan Bishara writes in Al Jazeera:

Call him a crook, call him a warmonger, but who other than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could boast two successful summits with both US and Russian presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, all within two weeks of the Israeli elections?

His immediate motives are clear, but there is something beyond his obviously shrewd use of diplomacy for electoral gain. There are greater strategic implications of such high-powered statesmanship.

So how did a politically challenged, corruption-ridden leader of a tiny state get the world superpowers to do his bidding and on his schedule?

The answer lies in a three-way bromance that has been blossoming for some time, and could potentially shape the Middle East for years to come.

The ‘chess master’

It all began with a meeting at Trump Tower in late September, 2016.

Netanyahu, who was in New York City for the annual UN summit, dropped in for an introductory meeting with Donald Trump, the Republican candidate in the US presidential race.

The meeting quickly turned into a “master class” in world geopolitics, according to former Trump advisor Steve Bannon. The seasoned four-term Israeli premier coached the billionaire political novice about the importance of US-Israeli relations in the shadows of the bitter realities of the Middle East.

The two hit it off. Bigly.

Netanyahu not only answered all of Trump’s questions satisfyingly, he also rationalised and systemised Trump’s random foreign policy instincts about security, immigration, terrorism, Islam, etc. – even the advantages of a border wall.

He distilled and focused it all into a simple formula: Iran, not Russia, is “our” main enemy. In fact, the Russian president is uniquely positioned to help us against the ayatollahs and radical Islam.

According to Vicky Ward, the author of bestseller Kushner, Inc, Netanyahu is in fact the “grand chess master“, who lobbied Trump to court Putin and improve relations with Russia.

It was all music to Trump’s ears. He was already exchanging personal compliments with the Russian president to the horror of his detractors at home and in Europe. Now he was armed with a strategic doctrine that involved forging new partnerships with like-minded strongmen.

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