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Trump and Mohammed bin Salman

Karen Elliott House’s paean 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.

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.

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