Sudan: The Three Yeses
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
President Trump’s latest peace deal related to Israel — announced today with Sudan — is hard to appreciate fully without reference to the Khartoum resolution of 1967. It was issued at a summit of the Arab League at Sudan’s capital after the Jewish state emerged as the victor in the Six-Day War. The resolution came to be called “the three nos” — “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.”
So it’s hard to imagine a more dramatic turn around, even if it took 53 years. The New York Times is stressing that the deal appears, at least for the moment, to stop short of full diplomatic recognition involving opening embassies. What Mr. Trump has brokered, though, could be called (and may well be called) “the three yeses” — “yes to peace with Israel, yes to recognition of Israel, and yes to negotiations with it.”
Good for the Sudan, good for Israel, and good for American leadership. Naturally, the diplomatic establishment is wringing its hands, a point that was well marked in the Sun yesterday by Jonathan Tobin of the Jewish News Syndicate. He reports that the foreign policy “adults” have been fretting that Mr. Trump has been too heavy handed. He even removed Sudan from America’s terrorist list in exchange for recognition of Israel.
Our own view is that maybe Mr. Trump watched Steven Spielberg’s movie “Lincoln.” It dramatized all the deal making and arm twisting our 16th president employed to get our own Congress to pass our own Constitution’s 13th Amendment outlawing slavery. In Mr. Trump’s case, the cynics will suggest that Mr. Trump’s motivations are calculated for short term benefit here at home.
To us it looks remarkable. Until recently, Sudan had what Mr. Tobin calls “one of the most dangerous and most despised governments on the planet.” It has been rent by 30 years of famine and war and, in Darfur, genocide. It had, Mr. Tobin notes, hosted Osama bin Laden, in addition to Hezbollah and radical Palestinian groups. In 2016, though, its dictator, Omar al-Bashir, broke with Iran.
Mr. al-Bashir was overthrown last year. The new government, Mr. Tobin notes, needs Western help desperately. Mr. Trump, in any event, seems to have seen his chance and taken it. If Mr. Trump did so for politician gain, what of it? With the U.A.E., Bahrain, and now Sudan — another way to count three yeses — Mr. Trump has certainly advanced the cause of peace in the Middle East more than his predecessors managed.
If this does turn out to add up to progress, it will, at least in our view, stem from President Trump’s strategic vision. He understood the importance of moving our embassy to Jerusalem and of disengaging from the Iran deal. How he figured this out when all the “adults” in the room were advising to the contrary is one of the mysteries. Maybe the voters will figure it out between now and when they go to the polls. Three yeses to that.