Donald Trump made it clear to one and all today that the United States is indeed a banana republic and that human rights considerations are now a thing of the past. Trump made a statement of support for the Saudis Tuesday. His son, Eric, was on Fox News Monday, setting the stage for this travesty of a statement of foreign policy. Newsweek:
“Listen, I think it’s tough, right, you can’t have journalists getting murdered,” Eric Trump started. “And the way they did it was obviously savage and awful, and you have 15 people go through, and I mean, God knows what actually happened in that room, but whatever happened was clearly awful.
“At the same time,” the first son continued, “I think we have to be honest with ourselves that as America, we face a little bit of problem in that we don’t have all that many friends in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has actually been a friend to the U.S. in many ways, right?”
“They’re ordering from us, massive, massive orders, hundreds of billions of dollars of arms and various things which will create tens and tens of thousands of jobs,” he said, echoing the defense that his father repeatedly uttered before acknowledging that intelligence reports indicating a top Saudi official seemed responsible.
“So you cannot be executing journalists, or anybody else,” he continued. “Doesn’t matter if it’s a journalist or not, you can’t be doing that. It’s behavior that is savage and everything else,” Eric Trump said.
“At the same time, I mean, who are our friends in the Middle East? The [United Arab Emirates], Israel and Saudi … So what are you going to do, you’re going to take that and you’re going to throw all of that away?” he concluded.
Angela Merkel says yes, throw it all away, at least for the moment. Reuters:
“First, we condemn this act in the strongest terms,” she said. “Second, there is an urgent need to clarify what happened – we are far from this having been cleared up and those responsible held to account … As far as arms exports are concerned, those can’t take place in the current circumstances.”
Here is the United States position, basically, everybody’s killing everybody and so what? I’ve got mine.
The world is a very dangerous place!
The country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” Iran is considered “the world’s leading sponsor of terror.”
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave. They would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism.
After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!
The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone. Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder. After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body.
Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!
That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!
I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction – and they are free to do so. I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America. After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels – so important for the world. As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!
This sounds infinitely more like Don Corleone justifying to the families an ill advised hit that one of the capos made, than it sounds like an American president making a statement of policy on the world stage. But then, it never sounds much different, does it? Sound, or at least cogent, policy based upon humanitarian considerations, is the stuff of other administrations, not this one. As to oratory — if you like gangster movies, there will be plenty of that kind of dialogue.