Home/Daniel Larison/Trump’s Saudi Infatuation and the War on Yemen

Trump’s Saudi Infatuation and the War on Yemen

President Donald Trump poses for photos with ceremonial swordsmen on his arrival to Murabba Palace, as the guest of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, Saturday evening, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The president hosted the Saudi war criminal at the White House today:

During Tuesday’s meeting with the Crown Prince, who was chosen last year as his father’s successor, the president’s tone was almost fawning [bold mine-DL].

“Now you’re beyond the Crown Prince. I want to congratulate you. I thought your father made a very wise decision,” Trump said.

Trump’s enthusiastic embrace of the Saudis is nothing new, but it is nonetheless striking how obsequious the president is towards the Saudi king and his son. Shortly after last year’s purges, Trump enthused, “I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they’re doing.” The president is excessively fond of many foreign authoritarian leaders, but with the Saudis he still seems to be even more under their sway ever since they buttered him up during his visit to Riyadh. Trump has shown that he can be very easily manipulated with flattery, and once that is done a foreign leader doesn’t have to do anything else to earn his support.

A president as enamored of Saudi despots as Trump is won’t end U.S. support for the war on Yemen on his own. The only way that the administration will cut off assistance to the Saudi-led coalition is if Congress votes for S.J.Res. 54 to force an end to that support. The Senate is expected to vote on the resolution this afternoon, and we can hope that they deliver a stinging rebuke to Mohammed bin Salman and his government.

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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