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Trump move on Jerusalem will inflame tensions

Donald Trump has proved once again that he is an American president who cares little about international opinion and even less about global stability.

His decision to declare US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel has sparked widespread outrage with leaders of western democracies joining with the Arab and Islamic world, including US ally Saudi Arabia, to condemn this move.

Even Pope Francis spoke out ahead of the announcement, expressing concerns and pleading for 'wisdom and prudence to prevail'.

Unfortunately, we are dealing with a president not renowned for possessing either of those qualities.

There is a sense of disbelief that a US president would take such a radical and unnecessary step that could so easily inflame tensions and destabilise a region riven by mistrust, hatred and violence.

Mr Trump may see this decision as a way of demonstrating he is following through on his campaign pledges but he seems to have acted without taking full cognisance of the difficulties that could flow from this order signed at the White House on Wednesday.

There will of course be suspicion that this move is a means of distracting attention from the president's mounting problems over his administration's links to Russia.

Last week former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with the investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of Mr Trump's campaign team.

Clearly, this probe is getting uncomfortably close to the White House while the president's first year in office has been far from a success in terms of political achievements or his standing in the world.

While threatening the stability of the Middle East and potentially jeopardising any efforts aimed at finding a lasting peace, Mr Trump is also in the middle of an alarming stand-off with the volatile and unpredictable leader of North Korea.

These are worrying times and this president is eminently ill-suited for a role that requires statesmanship, global perspective and sound judgment.

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