Home/Rod Dreher/Trump To Qatar: ‘Drop Dead’

Trump To Qatar: ‘Drop Dead’

Down, down, down we go:

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was stunned Tuesday when told by reporters about President Trump’s tweets on Qatar.

Asked for his reaction, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) first said he hadn’t seen the tweets.

Told by a reporter that Trump accused Qatar of being a state sponsor of terrorism, Corker responded, in a notably lower register, “The president?”

Reporters responded yes, and five seconds of silence later, Corker followed up: “When did that occur?”

Told that it happened Tuesday morning, Corker stood silent for about another 10 seconds.

Here’s what the president tweeted:




What the Commander in Chief is doing with his reckless tweeting is putting at risk one of the largest and most important American military installations in the world:

The U.S. has located one of its largest air base operations in the desert outside the Qatari capital of Doha which is home to close to 11,000 U.S. military personnel. However, with the recent visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to the Middle East, ties with Saudi Arabia have strengthened.

The Al Udeid U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) military base in Qatar was set up in 2003 after it was moved from the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. The base, which boasts a long runway of 12,500 feet, is an important facility for the U.S. as it can accommodate up to 120 aircrafts. The base in Qatar serves as logistics, command and basing hubs for the U.S. CENTCOM area of operations, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

The day before, Defense Secretary Mattis and Secretary of State Tillerson had made public statements trying to calm the waters. This morning, they woke up to this mess from President Trump, who endorses a regional blockade of our ally!

We have a major military base in Qatar that the Qataris could close tomorrow if they wanted to. And Trump is antagonizing them for what? To please Our Friends The Saudis™?

I don’t mind that Trump is being disruptive. I very much mind that he is being stupid about it, and making enemies for our country for no good reason. On the other hand, I suppose there could be a bright side: I suppose that’s one way Trump is getting us out of the Middle East.

Larison says:

The more worrying thing about this statement is that Trump’s opinion of Qatar’s activities seems to be guided entirely by what other leaders told him about their government. Last month in Riyadh, Trump boasted that the U.S.-Qatari relationship was “extremely good” and that he and the emir would be discussing the purchase of “beautiful military equipment” made in the U.S. That was unfortunate in its own way, but it shows how different Trump’s view of Qatar was a few weeks ago. As I said before, Qatar is responsible for supporting jihadist and Islamist groups abroad, but they are hardly the only government in the region that has done so. Judging from Trump’s statement, he is simply taking Qatar’s neighbors at their self-serving word and he is letting himself–and the U.S.–be used to legitimize their vendettas. That bodes ill for this particular crisis, and it also shows how easily regional clients can shape U.S. policies during Trump’s presidency.

All the Saudis had to do was flatter the US President, and he swung their way in an incredibly destructive way — this, without consulting his own national security leadership, and indeed by undercutting them, and indeed by making fools of them. The recklessness is stunning — and frightening. There is no foreign policy stability at the pinnacle of the US government. The word of the Defense Secretary and the Secretary of State is worthless in foreign capitals. What matters are the spontaneous tweets of an President disconnected from a realistic sense of responsibility for his office and the security of the nation he leads.

Sooner or later, Mattis, Tillerson, and H.R. McMaster are going to have to resign to protect their own integrity. And then what?

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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