The DC Establishment Gets Almost Everything Wrong About Trump's Saudi Posture
[The Federalist] Of President Donald Trump’s many disruptions to the established order, his foreign policy has been perhaps the least understood and least accepted by elites. Yesterday, President Trump resisted public pressure and declined to significantly reorient American foreign policy in light of Saudi Arabia’s brutal killing of its political opponent Jamal Khashoggi, who was also a columnist for the Washington Post.
In a statement, Trump said that what happened to Khashoggi was terrible, but that Saudi Arabia is an ally that shares our broader strategic interests in the region, while Iran remains a foe to be countered.
Trump had already imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi individuals over their alleged roles in Khashoggi’s killing. Anti-Trump journalists, Obama-era supporters of the Iran deal, and Republican supporters of Bush-era democracy-spreading wanted the United States to do much more to dramatically change its relationship with Saudi Arabia on account of the killing.
"In unusual statement disputing the CIA and filled with exclamation points, Trump backs Saudi ruler after Khashoggi killing," opined NBC News in its snarky headline for a news story on the announcement.
"The President’s and Secretary of State’s Khashoggi statements to date are inconsistent with an enduring foreign policy, with our national interest, with basic human rights, and with American greatness," asserted Utah’s newly elected Republican Sen. Mitt Romney.
It’s unclear what Romney meant by his remarks, which were a more sober version of the general outrage Trump’s statement generated. It was clear that much of elite D.C. still believes that the job of U.S. foreign policy is less to protect the country’s strategic interests and more to spread democracy and other "American values," arguments and rhetoric also used in favor of the invasion of Iraq during the George W. Bush administration.
Posted by: Besoeker 2018-11-22