It’s tempting to laugh at a lot of the commotion that surrounds President Donald Trump. The peacocking, the vulgarity, the typos, the tweets, the cold hand of wife Melania – every day something new is stirred up.
But this week something came to light that was definitely nothing to laugh about. The presidency of the United States is the world’s most important position, and the USA is the world’s mightiest military power. The man who sits in the White House doesn’t seem to understand the seriousness of it all.
Several American media outlets first raised the issue in May: Trump is believed to have passed on sensitive Israeli intelligence to Russia. The story originally appeared around the time it was forbidden to take laptops on planes in the U.S.
The details of the story appear to add up. On May 10, Trump met Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, at the White House. Only recently did American magazine Vanity Fair reveal details about what went on in the meeting.
What happened was that the Israeli intelligence organization Mossad and the Israeli counterterrorism police had found out that an Islamic State cell in Syria had developed bombs which could be hidden in laptops and therefore pass undetected through security checks and end up on planes. This is what Trump explained to Lavrov and Kislyak.
The problem was that in doing so, Trump revealed Mossad’s secret plan to infiltrate the Islamic State group cell at its hidden location in Syria, while also failing to warn Syria that he had passed the information on to the Russians.
The reason that the leak is so problematic is that trust between the USA and Israel has now been breached. Consequentially, the security situation in the Middle East is also affected. Israel became scared that the Russians would leak the information further to Russia’s ally, Iran.
If the allied countries can’t be sure they can share intelligence with the U.S. without needing to worry about information finding its way to a third party with which they’re in conflict, it will lead to an incredibly difficult situation.
When it sinks in that Trump has actually put a source in danger, relationships with other countries will also be in danger. As the world’s biggest military power, the USA is in a unique position. It isn’t possible to be more powerful than the top commander of the American military.
Trump is without political experience and has little time for the Washington political elite. But this situation demonstrates how important experience is for a politician at the highest level. By leaking information to a third party, Trump has shown that he is an amateur of the highest order. It makes the world a more dangerous place.