Trump Bends a Knee to the Prince

It’s painfully obvious to even the most casual observer that Mohammad bin Salman was responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.  Saudi Arabia publicly beheads people for the “crimes” of apostasy, witchcraft, premarital sex, and being gay.  Does anyone believe for a moment that MBS would be the least bit squeamish about ordering the killing and dismemberment of a Washington Post journalist?

Trump waffled and equivocated, he hemmed and he hawed.  But in the end he dismissed the assessments of the CIA and prostrated himself squarely before prince MBS.  Was anyone surprised?  Pragmatic to a fault President Bone-Spur explained that to make America great again we need two things.  We need inexpensive Saudi oil and we need to sell bombs, lots and lots of bombs, to the very people who blew up the World Trade Center along with 3,000 Americans.  Why if we don’t sell the Saudis our bombs they’ll just buy bombs from someone else and where would that leave us?  We’d have more bombs then we knew what to do with.     

Sure Trump admitted it’s wrong to kill journalists.  It’s wrong to kill anyone and he said as much.   But let’s be rational.   Any potential moral outrage must be tempered by the practical considerations of putting America first.  Endangering our alliance with a medieval kingdom would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  We’d be making mountains out of molehills.  Their human rights record is abysmal  but, given time, the House of Saud will reform itself; or maybe not.   

However I’d like to think that America is more than cheap oil.  I’d like to think that we’re more than an weapons clearinghouse for cruel and brutal dictators.   I’d like to believe that America stands for justice, free speech, the rule of law and human dignity.  I believe in those ideals and if I have to pay a bit more at the gas pumps so be it.  If our economy suffers from the loss of armament exports to tyrants and despots so be it.  Americans can and will build more than guns and heat seeking missiles.  We have more to offer the world than instruments of death and destruction.

If Trump was a true pragmatist he’d realize that the writing on the wall is all too clear.  In spite of their glittering palaces and their monumental skyscrapers the days are waning for the House of Saud.  The curtain will soon fall just as it always falls for all autocrats everywhere.  Listen carefully and even now you’ll hear the wind whistling through branches that moan as they struggle to support their own weight.  When the Saudi Royal Family is deposed and driven into exile of what value will those cherished weapon contracts be?  They’ll be worthless.    

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