Most Americans probably don’t care much about yesterday’s move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but the decision-making process that went into it is crucial to understand.
Even as they previewed the move, administration officials seemed unable to offer any kind of account of why this would help the United States. Instead, the focus was on the idea that critics of the move are overstating the prudential case against it. Annie Karni quotes a source who said Jared Kushner’s view is that “after all the posturing and a few days of riots, things go back to normal when it comes to the negotiations.”
Josh Rogin reports that James Mattis thought it was a bad idea.
The problem here isn’t so much that Kushner is wrong. It’s that even though he’s right, this is a loopy way to make policy. Probably the whole thing will blow over. Nobody in the region regards the US as an honest broker on Palestinian issues anymore anyway, and most regional leaders don’t care nearly as much about the Palestinian issue as they used to. But the upside here is nonexistent, and the potential downsides are large. It’s a bet with clearly negative expected value, except it’s the American people who are holding the downside.
Which brings me to reports that Trump is looking to slash staff and funding levels at the Treasury’s Office of Financial Research.
You would not think that just 10 years after a massive financial crisis the American government would be moving aggressively to dismantle prudential regulation of the banking system. But that’s what they are doing here. OFR is the agency that’s supposed to be the Treasury’s eyes and ears. It helps the department understand how financial markets are evolving and where new vulnerabilities may arise. Read More Here