A running theme on this blog is journalistic malfeasance. While no amount of exegesis will decipher the nonsensical output of the establishment press, I find it fun to travel backward through time, and attempt to make sense of the present through the lens of yesterday’s inhuman screeching.
Nearly sixteen months ago, Anne Applebaum at The Washington Post wrote:
It was a very strange choice for a first trip abroad. The past four American presidents, two Republicans and two Democrats, made their first trips to either Mexico and Canada, countries that are close trading partners, close allies, compatible democracies and of course neighbors. Trump chose, instead, to make his first presidential visit to an oligarchic kleptocracy which forces women to hide their faces and forbids them to travel without a male guardian’s permission.
It was a very strange place to speak out against Islamist extremism. Although Saudi Arabia is afraid of some forms of Islamist extremism, it supports others. Saudi Arabia sponsors extremist Wahabi mosques and imams all over the world; Osama bin Laden was a Saudi citizen, as were 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers.
The sword dance. Every American president has met with his Saudi counterparts, and of course the stability of Saudi Arabia, as well as its oil, is an important U.S. security concern. But until now American presidents made it clear that, while we have to deal with Saudi leaders, we don’t endorse their culture. Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and others in the delegation did exactly that, by participating in this sinister all-male dance.
President Trump’s first foreign trip was to Saudi Arabia. This is apparently unusual, and Ms. Applebaum would like to blow it into a felony. In fact, it was a monumental change in American foreign policy.
If there is anything about the president’s first trip that is especially interesting, in that it has not been extensively written about. As I wasn’t there, I can only speculate as to the nature of Trump’s conversation with the Saudis, but in hindsight, I think a plausible reconstruction is possible.
From Bayoumy, Landay, et. al. at Reuters:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration is quietly pushing ahead with a bid to create a new security and political alliance with six Gulf Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, in part to counter Iran’s expansion in the region, according to U.S. and Arab officials.
President Trump’s first mission abroad was laying the groundwork for a global reshuffling. He continues to make good on his promise to keep American boys from bleeding and dying for big oil companies. I believe his first foreign trip was delivering the message, from the American people, that the jig is up. The Saudis will no longer be able to order us around.
One will recall that it was about this time that a dozen cruise missiles slammed into various targets in Syria. Whether or not that was meant as a tangible warning to the oil sheiks, it probably served the purpose.
People may well bleed and die for transnational capital, but it won’t be American boys. If the Arabs want to bog themselves down in fratricidal wars, they’re welcome to do it, and President Trump will sell all sides American-made weapons to get the job done.
we make the best weapons… really terrific
We won’t be subsidizing people who hate us any longer, though we will take our rightful places as the global purveyor of armaments.
Another recent story has the liberal press wailing, and it’s about the same general part of the world.
From Edward Wong at the New York Times:
WASHINGTON — The United States government has decided to stop all funding it gives to a United Nations agency that provides assistance to millions of Palestinian refugees, ending a decades-long policy of supporting it, according to a former senior United States aid official.
The move was pushed hardest by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser on the Middle East, as part of a plan to compel Palestinian politicians to drop demands for many of those refugees to return to what they call their homeland, said the former official, R. David Harden, who worked at the United States Agency for International Development until April.
The propagandists are understating the case quite considerably. President Trump caused the Palestinian Authority to go broke, almost overnight. Suddenly, we aren’t providing 90 percent of the budget to a government that hates America, and celebrates when her people are slaughtered.
Naturally, all the usual whiners are hand-wringing
From Isabel Kershner in New York Times:
“This administration is dismantling decades of U.S. vision and engagement in Palestine,” Husam Zomlot, the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s general delegation to the United States, said in a statement.
Whatever those decades of “vision” and “engagement” have returned to the American people, who subsidized them, isn’t clear.
The Trump presidency has reoriented the politics of heartland America (whites and most blacks) toward visions of trade and immigration, and away from the old CONservative talking points around tax-cuts for wealthy scumbags and cutting budgets to screw over everyday workers. He has also separated a huge number of that same population from the typical republican establishment. Whether or not the Trump presidency lasts a second term, he has succeeded in making “America First” a viable slogan, for the first time in over a century. It started in Saudi Arabia.