Trump’s Yemen Babble
Before Palin endorsed him, Trump was on stage babbling about Iran and Yemen (starting at around 16:40):
Now they’re going into Yemen, and if you look at Yemen, take a look…they’re going to get Syria, they’re going to get Yemen, unless…trust me, a lot of good things are going to happen if I get in, but let’s just sort of leave it the way it is. They get Syria, they get Yemen. Now they didn’t want Yemen, but you ever see the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia? They want Saudi Arabia. So what are they going to have? They’re gonna have Iraq, they’re gonna have Iran, they’re gonna have Iraq, they’re gonna have Yemen, they’re gonna have Syria, they’re gonna have everything!
This is nonsense, and it shows just how little Trump knows about foreign policy. Iran isn’t “going” into Yemen at all. This is a crude, simplified version of official Saudi interventionist propaganda, which has grossly exaggerated the extent of Iran’s influence and involvement in Yemen for most of the last year. Far from “going into Yemen,” Iran’s government reportedly warned the Houthis against taking the capital back in 2014, and the Houthis ignored them and took the city. That should make clear how little control and influence Iran had and still has in that country. While some of his supporters believe they see evidence of good foreign policy judgment in some of Trump’s positions, this reminds us that he is more often misinformed or simply clueless about these issues.
As ridiculous and ignorant as these statements are, it’s worth noting that Trump’s “analysis” here is not all that different from Iran hawks’ alarmist claims that Iran is “on the march.” This isn’t true, and it conceals the reality that Iran has been steadily losing influence in the region for years, but it helps critics of the nuclear deal to promote the idea that Iran is now on track to dominate the region. Trump loves to denounce the deal, and so he has bought into hysterical and unfounded claims that Iran is taking over the region. He is actively promoting false and misleading claims about a conflict in Yemen that already receives far too little coverage. In addition to showing why he can’t be trusted on foreign policy, Trump is making it that much easier for the Obama administration to avoid criticism and accountability for enabling the war on Yemen. Trump’s regurgitation of pro-Saudi talking points about their war lets Obama off the hook for one of the worst foreign policy blunders of his presidency.