Fear - Trump in the White House
Bob Woodward
Contributed by Larisa Brooke
Chapter 14

Derek Harvey becomes the Director of the Middle East on the National Security Council. He comes to Jared Kushner and explains his worries concerning Hezbollah in the Middle East (Woodward 102). This is a terrorist group supported by Iran that has an extensive worldwide influence, growing at an alarming rate. For instance, it is reported to possess 150,000 missiles signifying a huge transformation from when it had 4,500 rockets in 2006 (Woodward 102). This issue seems to disturb Harvey and he needs to take action. He makes several efforts, but McMaster keeps on delaying him without giving any clear reasons (Woodward 103).

Kushner seems to like the idea of forming an alliance with the Saudis. Therefore, he and Harvey continue working and planning. Kushner thinks that the president should make his first trip to the Middle East something that Harvey agrees to enthusiastically. The plan does not impress McMaster and he thinks that it may fail. Nevertheless, Kushner and Harvey reach out to the Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), who is charismatic and speaks of bold, modernization reforms in his kingdom (Woodward 104). This leads to several meeting and the Saudis agree to purchase US weapons, thus boosting the country’s economy (Woodward 106). MBS comes to the US and has lunch with Trump and other officials with Trump agreeing to visit the Middle East, and he promptly goes to Saudi Arabia and then to Israel (Woodward 106). Harvey believes that the president’s trip will be a warning to Iran, that the US has friends and allies in the region.


When appointed to supervise security in the Middle East, Harvey uses his skills effectively to identify the prevalent threats in that part of the world. After that, he takes action by going to see Kushner, seemingly sure that Kushner will support his ideologies. One might think that Harvey had already done some research on Kushner before coming to him, and this might have made him aware of the ties between Kushner and the Saudi royal family. Therefore, it was easy for him to approach Kushner, and make plans, without informing the president, as he was sure that he would succeed. In addition, he clearly knows that the US has to become friends and allies with Saudi Arabia if they are to keep Hezbollah at bay.

On the other hand, Kushner is confident about the deal since there is a lot to gain. He also understands how Trump thinks and he is willing to take proactive steps without any worry. The decision of choosing MBS is beneficial considering that the prince is young and idealistic. His strategy for the future aligns well with current world views, making him relevant and influential. Therefore, the entire strategy and Trump’s trip serves as a great benefit to the US and to its allies in the Middle East.

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