Thinking through a Trump October surprise: Could Iran be a wildcard?

Co-written by Daniel Kurtzer

The allure of a surprise foreign policy development in the months before an election is a feature of political campaigns.

The Trump administration has a limited number of choices regarding an “October surprise.” Relations with allies are so fraught that it is unlikely any of them will step up to provide Trump with an electoral boost. Relations with adversaries are actually better, but they too are likely to sit on the sidelines, hedging their bets.

The administration believes it has already delivered a positive surprise, namely, the treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and the normalization agreement between Israel and Bahrain. President Trump, trumpeting these developments as having ushered in Middle East peace, is optimistic that several others Arab states, including possibly Saudi Arabia, will soon normalize ties with Israel.

If this occurs, Trump may get a bounce among his already committed voters, but it is not clear that Middle East diplomatic moves have resonance among undecided voters concerned about COVID-19, the economy and race relations.

Read the full article in The New York Daily News.