Trump stands with Saudis despite Khashoggi murder

It's often been said that nations have no friends or enemies, only interests. That;s why it's hardly surprising that Donald Trump would issue a statement backing the Saudi Arabian government despite evidence that the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was ordered at the highest levels.

The president's statement set off a firestorm in Washington as politicians from both parties vied to see who could be the most outraged. In truth, Trump, as president, had very little choice.

After bringing up the threat to the region and American interests posed by Iran and Saudi efforts to confront that threat, the president gave a reasoned, nuanced response to those who think the US should throw the book at the Saudis:

Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!

That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. 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!

I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction – and they are free to do so. I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America. 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. As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!

Trump did not go into the Saudis problematic and half hearted assistance in combatting radical Islam, but he didn't have to. He stated all the reasons why backing the Saudis despite the probable guilt of Crown Prince Salman in ordering the hit on Khashoggi, is necessary. And the bottom line is so simple, even a liberal could understand it.

It is in the national interest of the United States.

We don't elect a president to represent the interests of other nations. We elect them to support and promote the interests of the United States. When our interests dovetail with those of other nations, it's a happy circumstance and we are always glad to cooperate. But punishing a nation for being oppressive, or violating human rights is a luxury we can only afford when our interests would not be severely damaged by doing so.

To those who would punish the Saudis for their actions by sanctioning them, or cancelling arms deals, or boycotting oil, or any other idea that has been put forth, you have to justify that position by explaining why it would be in the national interest. Simply saying that killing Khashoggi was an illegal act and a gross violation of human rights isn't enough. I have yet to hear much condemnation on the left of President Maduro of Venezuela for doing far worse. And of course, the murderous thug Fidel Castro and his brother are heroes on the left. There are many who advocate for lifting sanctions on Maduro and Cuba despite their nauseating human rights record. 

I don't generally agree with the president on much, but he's hit the mark here. The national interest is best served by basically giving Saudi Arabia a pass. And given that they are on the front lines in battling Iranian hegemony in the region, it becomes vitally necessary to give them all the support that the US can muster. 

 

It's often been said that nations have no friends or enemies, only interests. That;s why it's hardly surprising that Donald Trump would issue a statement backing the Saudi Arabian government despite evidence that the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was ordered at the highest levels.

The president's statement set off a firestorm in Washington as politicians from both parties vied to see who could be the most outraged. In truth, Trump, as president, had very little choice.

After bringing up the threat to the region and American interests posed by Iran and Saudi efforts to confront that threat, the president gave a reasoned, nuanced response to those who think the US should throw the book at the Saudis:

Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!

That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. 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!

I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction – and they are free to do so. I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America. 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. As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!

Trump did not go into the Saudis problematic and half hearted assistance in combatting radical Islam, but he didn't have to. He stated all the reasons why backing the Saudis despite the probable guilt of Crown Prince Salman in ordering the hit on Khashoggi, is necessary. And the bottom line is so simple, even a liberal could understand it.

It is in the national interest of the United States.

We don't elect a president to represent the interests of other nations. We elect them to support and promote the interests of the United States. When our interests dovetail with those of other nations, it's a happy circumstance and we are always glad to cooperate. But punishing a nation for being oppressive, or violating human rights is a luxury we can only afford when our interests would not be severely damaged by doing so.

To those who would punish the Saudis for their actions by sanctioning them, or cancelling arms deals, or boycotting oil, or any other idea that has been put forth, you have to justify that position by explaining why it would be in the national interest. Simply saying that killing Khashoggi was an illegal act and a gross violation of human rights isn't enough. I have yet to hear much condemnation on the left of President Maduro of Venezuela for doing far worse. And of course, the murderous thug Fidel Castro and his brother are heroes on the left. There are many who advocate for lifting sanctions on Maduro and Cuba despite their nauseating human rights record. 

I don't generally agree with the president on much, but he's hit the mark here. The national interest is best served by basically giving Saudi Arabia a pass. And given that they are on the front lines in battling Iranian hegemony in the region, it becomes vitally necessary to give them all the support that the US can muster.