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Trump’s Foreign Policy Has Nothing to Do With ‘America First’

Trump has shamelessly embraced our worst clients, irritated our closest allies, and done nothing that actually advances U.S. interests at all.

H.R. McMaster and Gary Cohn gamely try to spin Trump’s foreign trip as something other than the failure that it clearly was:

President Trump just returned from nine days in the Middle East and Europe that demonstrated his America First approach to ensuring security and prosperity for our nation. America will not lead from behind. This administration will restore confidence in American leadership as we serve the American people.

It is a given that a president’s top advisers will do their best to put a favorably spin on his actions as much as they can, but this is exceptionally thin gruel. No one outside the administration believes that Trump “restored confidence” in American leadership on this trip or that he is likely to do so in the future. The only relationship that Trump “deepened” during his time overseas was with the Saudis, and this is the one relationship from which the U.S. should trying to extricate itself as quickly as possible. McMaster and Cohn obediently claim that “President Trump helped facilitate $110 billion in defense investments that will strengthen regional and American security and create American jobs,” but there are good reasons to doubt all of this. Selling the Saudis more weapons just encourages them to continue brutalizing and starving their Yemeni neighbors, which definitely doesn’t serve American security interests and likely makes Saudi Arabia less secure in the future as well. It definitely contributes to regional instability, strengthens Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and likely helps worsen the world’s humanitarian crisis.

As for creating jobs here in the U.S., the picture is not nearly as clear-cut as the administration would like you to believe. It is entirely possible that the latest arms deal with the Saudis won’t produce any new jobs at all. Justin Glawe looked into this question last week, and this is what he found:

Is there any way for Raytheon to estimate how many jobs the deal will create? “No,” said the spokesman, Mike Doble.

Lockheed Martin’s chief executive said in a statement that the deal would “support” thousands of jobs in the United States and Saudi Arabia. Boeing said the deal would “create or sustain” jobs in both countries. Neither company would put a specific number on new jobs being created in the United States.

Whatever limited benefit a few companies might derive from this deal, it implicates the U.S. in war crimes and sinks us deeper into the mire of an atrocious war that our government should never have supported. McMaster and Cohn don’t mention any of this, but then there is no way that they could put a positive spin on our ongoing enabling of the destruction of an entire country. Our policy of supporting the Saudi-led war on Yemen is indefensible, and no U.S. officials dare attempt to defend it. The truth is that the U.S. under Trump has shamelessly embraced our worst clients, irritated our closest allies, and done nothing that actually advances U.S. interests at all. That has nothing to do with putting America first, and it has everything to do with prioritizing the interests of the governments that do the most to flatter the president’s ego.



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