Home/Daniel Larison/The WSJ’s Embarrassing Adoration for MBS

The WSJ’s Embarrassing Adoration for MBS

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial on Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is remarkably sycophantic even for them:

The Yemen operation has been long and hard, but it has largely succeeded [bold mine-DL] in cutting off Iranian supplies to the Houthis and boosted the confidence of Arab states. Mohammed bin Salman has also spearheaded efforts to diplomatically isolate Qatar over its two-faced policy of cooperating with the West while funding Islamist groups like Hamas.

I know that the WSJ editors have never seen a failed, unnecessary war that they didn’t think was succeeding, but spinning the war on Yemen as anything other than a costly, embarrassing failure is just ridiculous. None of the stated coalition goals for the war (reimposing Hadi as president, expelling Houthis from the capital, etc.) has been achieved. None is likely to be achieved in the future, and none can be achieved except at an appalling cost in civilian lives. In the meantime, Yemen’s population has been made a victim of man-made famine and continues to suffer from a cholera epidemic made worse by the coalition’s blockade and the widespread malnutrition caused by that blockade. Of course, the editors never mention to the steep and horrifying cost of the Saudi-led war, because that would undermine their laughable attempt to portray MBS as a smart “reformist.” It’s true that the crown prince is leading the charge against Qatar, but why we should be impressed that he is responsible for stoking a major international crisis that hurts U.S. interests is anyone’s guess.

MBS’ short, lousy foreign policy record tells us we should expect more bad judgment and reckless behavior from the Saudis, and it is certainly nothing to brag about. The fact that hard-liners here in the U.S. think he is on the right track is further confirmation that he truly is a menace.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

leave a comment

Latest Articles