In response to President Trump’s announcement that he would maintain our strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia.
Democrat Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., siding with the rest of the mainstream media, said “‘Great allies’ don’t plot the murder of journalists, Mr. President. ‘Great allies’ don’t lure their own citizens into a trap, then kill them.” Yes, Mr. Flake, some of America’s most necessary allies have been responsible for millions of deaths of their own citizens.
Consider Joseph Stalin, the brutal Soviet Union dictator, without whom we might all be speaking German today. Some of his favorite quotes include:
“Death is the solution to all problems. No man – no problem.”
“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”
Do you think FDR made a mistake by forging an alliance with Stalin to beat an even more ruthless man, Adolph Hitler? Would you have criticized him for that decision?
The Shah of Iran was once a close US ally, despite common knowledge that his “secret police” were often responsible for “torturing and killing political dissidents. But the Shah was also a secular, anti-communist leader in a Muslim-dominated region. President Nixon hoped that Iran would be the “Western policeman in the Persian Gulf.”
Following the Iranian Revolution, the US allied with Saddam Hussein. We even shared intelligence with him during his long war with Iran and “looked the other way at his use of chemical weapons.”
The US was also allied with former Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, the father of current Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Four US Presidents including Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton visited him, despite the fact that Syria has been on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1979.”
Greg Gutfeld weighed in on the media’s latest “freakout.”
So maybe the boss’s son had Khashoggi offed. Or maybe not. Which is it?
Think hard. It’s a card game.
If you say the prince is guilty, you’re committing poker suicide by folding, while holding all the best cards. Sure, playing your moral ace might please the media.But winning their approval wins America nothing. It just wastes a great opportunity.
But hold off and say, “maybe, maybe not,” and you come out ahead. And the pot you want to win impacts your country’s happiness.
If you’ve spent your life playing this game, keeping your cards close and waiting, you know: America has the Saudis over a barrel. Millions of barrels, really. And in negotiations, that means you can get something big from them, that you couldn’t get before.
Middle East progress? A chance for peace in Palestine and Israel? The ability to influence oil prices?
By refusing to cut ties with Saudi Arabia over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Trump is acting in our best interest. First, America benefits from having an ally in the Middle East. Trump said in his statement (which can be read here):
In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!
Second, America sells a large amount of weapons to the country. If we cut diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia, they would simply buy their weapons from Russia or China, thus depriving American manufacturers of business and putting money into the hands of Putin and Xi Jinping. Trump said in his statement:
After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!
And third, Saudi Arabia is a very wealthy country and a major oil exporter. Trump said “After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels – so important for the world.”
It would make no sense to end the relationship.
And it’s ironic that during his presidency, Obama made four visits to Saudi Arabia, more than any other president. I don’t recall hearing any outrage from the media then. Nor were Bill and Hillary Clinton criticized for their acceptance of over $10 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation. And Saudi Arabia’s human rights record was just as egregious then as it is now.
To the amusement of the King, Obama bowed to him upon their first meeting. For this, he was mocked by many on the right at the time, including then-businessman Donald Trump.
CNN accused Trump of bowing to the King when they first met as well. At some point after their introduction, the King put a medal around Trump’s neck. At the moment when Trump lowered his head to receive it, cameras snapped and the mainstream media claimed he had bowed. The rumor was debunked when the video of their first meeting surfaced, which showed that Trump stood tall and shook the King’s hand.
Suffice it to say that America is no stranger to alliances with unsavory characters. If that’s what it takes to promote or protect our national interests, that’s what it takes.
Most Americans agree that the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was a despicable act. And most Americans agree that the Saudi Arabian regime has committed countless violations of human rights. This authoritarian regime has killed, tortured, and falsely imprisoned their own citizens. The country’s oppression of women is legendary. All of this is well-known.
But it would be foolish to cut our ties with Saudi Arabia. The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway makes the point that “when determining U.S. interests in a region, the decision isn’t between finding saints to work with or forming no alliances. The decision is figuring out who to work with, if anyone, to advance U.S. interests.”
Often, when making a decision, a president has to settle for the “least bad” choice. Aside from Israel, most Middle Eastern countries have abominable human rights records. We can’t force the world to embrace democracy. We’ve already tried that and failed. So, we have to deal with the reality that torture and murder and oppression against women in that part of the world is the norm. Knowing this, we have to decide which leaders can help us achieve our goals.