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The Saudis and Trump

Elizabeth Dickinson reports [1] on how the Saudis are trying to win over Trump. I was struck by this section:

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a powerful 30-something technocrat who manages everything from the Defense Ministry to economic reform, has spearheaded an effort to fortify the relationship. The deputy crown prince visited Washington in March to have lunch with Trump, in a meeting Mohammed bin Salman’s advisors proclaimed as a “historical turning point” in bilateral ties.

Insiders say the young prince sees a kindred spirit in Jared Kushner, a fellow 30-something with an oversized portfolio [bold mine-DL]. Kushner sat in on Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Mohammed bin Salman in March, and Saudi watchers are keen to see if he joins the president’s delegation to the kingdom this week.

There is a certain similarity between the two men in that both have been entrusted by their countries’ respective heads of state with responsibilities for which they are not remotely qualified, and both have been given great influence solely because of their relationship to the man in charge. The U.S. is fortunate that we are not (yet) reduced to putting children of the president in charge of the Defense Department, but the Saudi king did just that with his favorite son. Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has been put in charge of many things since he was elevated to deputy crown prince, but the most significant of these has been the foolish decision to put him in charge of the Saudi defense ministry and the war on Yemen. Recently, he reminded everyone of how delusional [2] the Saudi leadership is about that war and their ability to win it, but his reputation in Washington doesn’t seem to have been damaged by that.

If MBS is the public face of building closer U.S.-Saudi ties, he is also the poster boy for Saudi military incompetence and an atrocious war that the U.S. has shamefully backed to the hilt. His rise to prominence is a sign of much of what is wrong with the Kingdom, and that should be taken as a warning that the U.S. should be distancing itself from Riyadh rather than looking for ways to build a closer connection. If our leaders were wise, the prince’s attempt to “to spearhead the effort to regain Riyadh’s lost influence in Washington” would be rebuffed and the entire relationship would be reassessed.

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5 Comments To "The Saudis and Trump"

#1 Comment By MAGA Magus Misfire On May 17, 2017 @ 6:27 pm

I laughed out loud when I heard about Trump’s “Arab NATO” proposal. Just a few months ago he was saying that NATO was obsolete. Now he wants another one? Jeez … the generals he outsourced our foreign policy to must be pretty persuasive characters – too bad we don’t have civilian control of the military anymore.

And what happened to “Make America Great Again”? Why is he even visiting these countries? Aren’t the top priorities supposed to be building the wall, investing in infrastructure, deporting the illegals, ending work visas for foreigners, and fixing broken trade deals that destroy American jobs?

#2 Comment By a spencer On May 17, 2017 @ 9:17 pm

Off topic (and unlikely?), but if Lieberman is FBI chief then BDS – whether overtly or covertly – will essentially be criminalized in the US. If you don’t believe me, look up CISPES in the 1980s, even if the correlations aren’t exact.

You don’t have to agree with the BDS agenda anymore than you would with CISPES, but if anyone wants to bleat about the “deep state” and “First Amendment Rights!” you’ll have your chance.

#3 Comment By delaware destroyer On May 17, 2017 @ 11:27 pm

I’m glad you’re headlining bin Salman’s culpability. He’s bad news, and his behavior would have shocked and disgusted quite a few of the wiser Saudi elders who passed on in recent years.

@a spencer “if Lieberman is FBI chief “

I saw that too. Talk about “fake news”.

#4 Comment By Hyperion On May 18, 2017 @ 2:17 pm

The Saudis are smart enough to know that sucking up to Trump works best, shameless enough to embrace this approach, and powerful enough to wreak havoc with it.

#5 Comment By Michael J. Machnica On May 20, 2017 @ 7:31 am

“A man has got to know his limitations”
– Clint Eastwood playing “Dirty” Harry Callahan in “Magnum Force”(1973).

I am praying that our President comes to terms with his.FAST.

I figure this fiasco is to pacify the neocons and their military-industrial complex that makes multi-million dollar deals with that misogynist regime.

Too bad their king wasn’t so chummy with G.H.W. Bush back when Saddam invaded Kuwait. Bin Laden persisted and got a meeting with the king, where he wanted support for his muhajadeen to kick the “infidel” Saddam out of Kuwait without the West, but was refused. The king insisted they needed help from the West, infuriating Bin Laden.

Instead, we invaded their precious sandbox and almost everyone knows what followed.