James B. Steinberg
Former Brookings Expert
The regional governments are so eager to have more active American engagement that they will overlook any slights they might otherwise perceive in the president's view of their religion.
Mr. Trump’s goal of aligning with the Sunni states fundamentally conflicted with his desire for closer relations with Russia, which has sided with Iran in bolstering the government in Syria’s civil war. Allowing President Bashar al-Assad to remain in power in Syria under Iran’s thumb is precisely the outcome the Sunni states and Israel oppose.
Up until now, Trump's message on Islam has been very confrontational, a clash-of-civilizations type narrative...For him to talk about the great faiths unified in a common civilization would be quite different.