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Trump and Mohammed bin Salman

Karen Elliott House’s paean [1] to Trump’s upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia is something to behold. Here she gushes about the similarities between the president and Mohammed bin Salman (MBS):

The young prince and the president have much in common. Both are outsiders, brash, unorthodox and new to politics. Each faces strong opposition at home. Both seek to spur economic growth by reducing the role of government. And each is fighting orthodoxy: MBS, as the prince is known, wants to curb the role of religion and tradition, which inhibit modernization, while Mr. Trump battles leftist orthodoxy and political correctness. Both are smart marketers.

It’s not clear which person should be more insulted by this comparison. Trump and MBS are both remarkably incompetent in their respective roles, but MBS has done even less than Trump to earn his current position. Neither one has had any success in their attempts at “reform,” and both have presided over their own debacles. If the favorite son of the Saudi king is an “outsider,” the word doesn’t mean anything at all. The so-called “outsider” has been elevated to the heights of the Saudi government, and in return he has presided over a costly, indefensible, and failed war. The desperate effort to build up Salman’s incompetent son as a credible leader would be funny if it didn’t have such horrible consequences for millions of people in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

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7 Comments To "Trump and Mohammed bin Salman"

#1 Comment By jk On May 18, 2017 @ 9:38 pm

Did you hear that Toby Keith is playing in Saudi Arabia at the sametime as Trump’s visit? Don’t know if it was planned this way but it would be epic if he played the 9/11 song!

#2 Comment By Janwaar Bibi On May 18, 2017 @ 10:56 pm

It would be a mistake to conjecture that Karen Elliott House is just kissing the ring of the rich and the powerful. She is actually kissing their donkeys.

#3 Comment By Mike On May 19, 2017 @ 12:30 pm

The House article is also hopelessly out of date about MbS’s Vision 2030 since in April the deputy crown prince rescinded most of the public sector cuts (paying back dated pay to restore salary cuts too) the moment Saudis got stroppy on social media, and while oil prices were declining rather than rising.

Note how the WSJ is also beating the war drums on Iran in a big way, with contributions from the likes of Gruppenfuhrer Reuel Marc Gerecht. The Murdoch owned London Times are doing the same, ditto the Daily Telegraph. Mr Larison, you are more essential than ever!

#4 Comment By Omar On May 19, 2017 @ 12:33 pm

How much lower can the U.S. go?

#5 Comment By Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum On May 20, 2017 @ 12:51 pm

At least the Saudis pay for the weapons we sell them. Otherwise they’re no different from the Israelis – parasites dragging us into their messes. I thought Trump was going to get us OUT of there.

#6 Comment By rayray On May 20, 2017 @ 2:34 pm

Trump has no insight into any of this, which is obviously a first class understatement.

Foreign policy is actually not a game for amateurs. To understand how NOT to do something requires as much insight into the complications of the world as knowing when to do something. To extricate ourselves from the mess of the Middle East would require a bold and experienced and nuanced thinker who could put the right people and strategies in place. An understanding of historical context wouldn’t hurt either.

So anyway, what are you doing later tonight, Larison? Can we talk you into it?

#7 Comment By Amir Soltani On May 26, 2017 @ 3:23 pm

Beautiful, funny and tragic all at once!