Has there been a more disgusting spectacle during the four months of this presidency than the sight of Donald Trump slobbering all over the barbarous Saudi monarch and his murderous family of petty princelings? It’s enough to make any normal American retch, especially when one remembers what Trump said about them during the election:
“Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries!”
And then there was this tweet:
“Tell Saudi Arabia and others that we want (demand!) free oil for the next ten years or we will not protect their private Boeing 747s. Pay up!”
Now Trump’s son in law, Jared Kushner, is calling up Lockheed-Martin to get a discount for the Saudis, personally brokering the biggest arms deal in US history. What a difference a presidency makes!
The old Trump told us that the Saudis were “mouth pieces, bullies, cowards,” who were “paying ISIS,” but now they’re our partners in the “war on terrorism.” Why it seems like only yesterday that he was calling out Saudi princes like Alwaleed bin Talal for thinking they can “control our US politicians” – today he’s kowtowing to them.
Most tellingly, it was Trump who made a campaign issue out of the missing 28 pages redacted from the Joint congressional report on the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In calling for their release, he painted a scenario in which the Saudi royals assisted the hijackers and said:
“You know, it’s sort of nice to know who your friends are, and perhaps who your enemies are.”
Does Trump know who are our friends and who are our enemies?
While the US government, under both Trump and Obama, has routinely maintained that Iran is the biggest exporter of terrorism, that is utter nonsense: the Saudis easily outdo the mullahs of Tehran. Riyadh funds radical madrassas throughout the world that preach pure hatred of the West: they are incubators of terrorism, and have been wreaking havoc from one end of the globe to the other for decades. The terrorist groups that have destroyed Syria are the progeny of the Saudis, and their allies among the Gulf states.
Most shameful of all, the Saudis have invaded nearby Yemen, slaughtering children and women with impunity, bombing funeral processions, and causing a famine that will kill hundreds of thousands of noncombatants: the very young, the sick, and the old. And they’re doing it with US assistance, a pact signed in blood under the Obama administration, now continued and beefed up under Trump.
In all fairness, this is nothing new as far as the US is concerned: our relationship with the Saudi monarchy goes all the way back to Franklin Roosevelt, who cemented the alliance in 1943 by declaring that the defense of their medieval dictatorship was “vital” to our national security: US taxpayer dollars flowed into the Saudi treasury via the Lend-Lease giveaway. The flow hasn’t stopped since that time: indeed, it has only increased.
And the flow will turn into a torrent if Trump’s wacky idea of an Arab NATO ever comes to fruition. We’ll be paying their “defense” bills unto eternity, while they send their army of head-chopping assassins out to murder infidels on a global scale – and US arms dealers rake in cash hand over fist.
Yes, the US-Saudi relationship is one of the central pillars of our globalist foreign policy – but wasn’t Trump supposed to be different? Wasn’t he supposed to be putting America first? Of all the betrayals we’ve had to endure since he took the White House, his pilgrimage to the epicenter of world terrorism has got to be the absolute worst. As he kneels before the Saudi king, he humiliates all of us.
Trump’s next stop is Israel, and that’s no accident: the Jewish state is Saudi Arabia’s main ally in the region, although the relationship is supposed to be covert. They don’t even bother to keep it under wraps anymore. While the Saudis fund the head-chopping barbarians who have destroyed Syria, the Israelis succor them in their hospitals and then set them free to kill and maim again. Israeli officials openly state their preference for ISIS over Bashar al-Assad. If and when Trump’s loopy “Arab NATO” ever comes to pass, Israel will be a silent partner.
The third leg of Trump’s trip will be the Vatican, and there an ambush awaits him. This Pope is no friend of the White House, and he is likely to issue a public rebuke on the immigration issue, at the very least. The whole thing is a public relations disaster waiting to happen, and a testament to the very bad advice Trump is getting from his clueless advisors.
The mawkish idea of visiting the sites of the world’s three major religions is more appropriate for a television special than for a President on his first major trip abroad. Quite aside from the fact that it leaves out the Hindus, the Greek Orthodox, and the Buddhists, the whole concept is typical of the way this administration thinks in terms of mindless clichés, catchphrases without context or real meaning.
Speaking of which, the less said about Trump’s speech in Riyadh the better: it was a farrago of falsehood, kowtowing, and brazen hypocrisy. To top it off, he announced that a new “Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology” is to be opened in the Kingdom – which is, itself, the world capital of extremist ideology, having done more to spread religious hatred than any country on earth.
Of all Trump’s many betrayals – and they’re piling up at such a rate that he’s creating a veritable Mountain of Mendacity – this Saudi trip has got to be the one that will demoralize and alienate even his hardcore supporters. After rising to power on the strength of portraying Islam as inherently violent and dangerous, he’s now joining hands with the leaders of what he once described as “the hateful ideology of radical Islam.” It’s as if Mother Theresa had embraced the Church of Satan.
It’s been a very long four months – that seems more like four years. In voting for Trump, many of his supporters – some of whom are now among Antiwar.com’s regular readers and supporters – were hoping for a return to normalcy. What they got instead was a descent into Bizarro World.
A special note: As you may know from looking at our front page, group of our more well-heeled and generous friends have gotten together and raised $30,000 in matching funds to support Antiwar.com’s Spring fundraising drive – but there’s a catch.
It’s time to put an end to this fundraiser: we have better things to do. The sheer amount of news is, frankly, overwhelming – and can barely deal with it and simultaneously do the hard work of raising money. We need to get on with our real job – which is giving you the best coverage of international affairs available online.
We aren’t in with the big foundations, or the whims of eccentric billionaires: we depend you, our readers, for the funding we need to continue. At a time when war clouds are darkening every horizon, from Korea’s demilitarized zone to the eastern frontiers of the NATO alliance, Antiwar.com is needed now more than ever. But we can’t do our job – preventing the next war – without your financial help.
Your tax-deductible donation today has double the impact, thanks to the contributions of our matching funds donors. So seize this moment before it passes, and make your donation today.
NOTES IN THE MARGIN
You can check out my Twitter feed by going here. But please note that my tweets are sometimes deliberately provocative, often made in jest, and largely consist of me thinking out loud.
I’ve written a couple of books, which you might want to peruse. Here is the link for buying the second edition of my 1993 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, with an Introduction by Prof. George W. Carey, a Foreword by Patrick J. Buchanan, and critical essays by Scott Richert and David Gordon (ISI Books, 2008).
You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.