President Donald Trump was able to read a coherent text from a teleprompter during his State of the Union address, so he earned praise. He improvised by throwing in some of his usual language – “beautiful," "wonderful," how America is being "great" – and he claimed that Washington had defeated the Islamic State 100 percent. He reminded Congress about his achievements since he’s been in the White House, calling on Democrats and Republicans to unite for the good of the people. Among the most important of his achievements, he noted, was getting lawmakers' support for his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The fact of the matter is that the Islamic State group has not been totally defeated; they still have a presence in Iraq, where Washington helped kick them out of Mosul. Not a single U.S. soldier fell during the battle that demolished the entire city. The Islamic State group has changed tactics. Rather than rely on a direct approach and occupy cities, it has started to wage guerrilla warfare. As for Syria, the Islamic State groups are innumerable. Some of them change their names and enjoy American support, which is no secret. Moreover, the White House strategy in Syria is just not clear: The Kurds were armed and trained and joined Arab tribes in clear defiance of ally Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has waged a campaign in Afrin to take the Kurdish War to their countries. He is almost leaning in the direction of Iranian and Russian policies. Iran and Russia oppose Erdogan by allowing the Kurds to establish territory, which presents a risk to Ankara. And each country has its own reasons: Tehran is hostile toward the Kurds in the exact same way, and Moscow sees a return of the regime in the region as a strategic victory.
There is still the issue of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Trump confirmed that this issue was the "sovereign right" of the United States, casting everyone who opposes that decision as an enemy. In fact, Trump classified 128 countries that voted against the action in the United Nations as "adversaries," including some of the United States’ most important allies. He stated that American taxpayers have sent billions of dollars in aid to these countries as of 2016. Trump asked Congress to pass legislation that would serve American interests, aid that would go only to America's friends, not America's enemies. He followed up this attack by saying that the United States was continuing to "strengthen friendships around the world."
Congress agrees with Trump on these two issues: his claim to have eliminated the Islamic State group and his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But lawmakers, especially Democrats, oppose him on everything else. They are exerting considerable effort to prove that Russia interfered in Trump's election campaign and helped him win the White House, which is paving the way for charges to be brought against him. Congress is faced with the fact that Trump has rolled back all of Barack Obama's decisions, including closing Guantanamo Bay. They accuse him of creating chaos in the White House and passing off strategic matters to his family, especially his daughter and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who enjoys a special place in the administration and on whom the president relies for tasks which should be handled by the Department of State, like solving the Arab-Israeli conflict.
This policy has resulted in Israel’s retreat from being bound by international decisions that offer a resolution of the conflict. This posture was confirmed in a statement by Benjamin Netanyahu to German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in which Netanyahu said, “We will control security west of the Jordan (river) … that is, I think, the first condition … Whether or not it’s defined as a state when we have military control is another matter. I’d rather not discuss labels, but substance." Substance, for him, is exploiting American support to the greatest extent and putting pressure on Arabs and Palestinians to give up the issue, not caring about the opinions of Europeans who warn of increasing hostility in the old continent, and waving the stick of anti-Semitism at them. How long will this accusation work?
The state of the union is the state of Israel. As for our state, it is the state of the Islamic State group.