Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Glimmer of Hope

Prime Ministers of Nordic countries have been yucking it up over the picture of Donald Trump placing his hand on an orb in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Truth be told, said countries are American protectorates; they are perfectly incapable of defending themselves. Scandinavian nations that have embraced too many Muslim refugees cannot defend their wives and daughters against the sexual predators they have welcomed into their midst.  
For some perspective about Trump’s momentous trip to Saudi Arabia we turn to noted economic historian, Niall Ferguson. From his latest column for the Boston Globe:

Stop number one for Donald Trump was Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, home of Islam’s holy places, Mecca and Medina. Stop number two was Jerusalem. The liberal media’s response was, as usual, ridicule. How the press corps all laughed at the sight of Trump and the Saudi king laying hands on a glowing white orb.

But what was that orb? The answer: a globe that served as the official launch button for a new Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology in Riyadh. Not a single commentator considered for one second that this might be rather an important departure for the Saudi regime, and potentially a real contribution to the campaign of “ideological warfare” that Trump proposed last year.

Unlike his predecessor, Trump is not afraid to call this problem by its real name. Departing from his script, he called for “honestly confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamists and Islamic terror of all kinds.” Tut-tut, grumbled The New York Times, he wasn’t supposed to say “Islamic” but “Islamist.” Oh yes he was.

“A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists,” Trump told his audience of leaders from Muslim-majority countries. “Drive. Them. Out.” For all his flaws, he has this right. For decades, Saudi Arabia has been the principal source of funding for the export of Sunni fundamentalism. Leaning on the Saudis is therefore an essential first step. Obviously, there has to be some quid pro quo if the House of Saud really is going to turn off the cash. But that, as Trump’s speech made clear, is going to be US-led action to check Iran’s regional and nuclear ambitions. For hostility to Iran is the one thing that unites the Sunni states represented in Riyadh with Trump’s Jewish hosts in Jerusalem.

This strategy will not be easy to execute. It will not bring back the 22 people Salman Abedi killed last Monday. But at least it is a strategy. And the fact that the president of the United States no longer spouts politically correct newspeak about “countering violent extremism” gives me a glimmer of hope.


Sam L. said...

The NYT has been wrong on many things for many years, but most recently and the mostest wrong on Trump. They just can't help themselves; they just HAD to grab the stickum-baby (used to be the tar-baby,but that's raaaaacist, now) in the road. Ain't never gonna get free of it, no way, no how.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

When it comes to a choice between Trump and the Islamists, the NYT and others mindlessly reflect this age-old axiom on diplomacy: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Umm... no, they're not. At least I hope not, because you'll be gravely disappointed.

James said...

" At least I hope not, because you'll be gravely disappointed."

Ares Olympus said...

This is so much nonsense. All Trump has done is take sides with repressive royalty that has been using its excess wealth to bribe religious fanatics with money which was used in the 9/11 attacks and the creation of ISIS. All Trump did was demonize Iran which has nothing to do with either act of terrorism, but just happens to be dominated by a rival branch of Islam.

Anyone can picks sides in a fight, picking the side with all the money, and all the power, and demonize the other side, and get cheers from the side with all the money.

Trump says "Drive them out" but who are "they"? The definition of terrorist will always be "anyone causing problems." So we're basically enabling a dictatorship to define and eliminate its own enemies, internal and external.

Even the incredible $110 billion arms deal, which is slated to grow to an inconceivable $380 billion Saudi investment within the next decade, is bound to elicit mixed emotions.

We might remember back in the first gulf war that Bin Laden's rage grew out of the U.S. making permanent military bases in Saudi Arabia. Who can guess what will grow out of this expanded US-Saudi alliance and mutual dependence? How does this look to Muslims who don't want the US in their holy land? Are all religious leaders now terrorists for wanting the U.S. out of their lands?

It looks to me that the Saudis are willing to deplete their wealth for short term appearance of power, while no one believes the U.S. is going to back up a bankrupt House of Saud. People think Venezuela looks bad now, but we can't imagine what the last days of Saudi Arabia is going to look like when they can no longer subsidies a fake economy on declining oil exports.

If selling weapons for profit is a way to expand US jobs, at least the weapons will all be used far away from us. Yet terrorists apparently know where we live, and they can cause wider terror on much cheaper budgets.

Anonymous said...

Repressive royalty Obama bowed to!

Ares Olympus said...

Anonymous said... Repressive royalty Obama bowed to!

Indeed, Obama had his own 100 billion dollar arms package, but then reversed it due to the violent Yemen campaign.

But now Trump has admitted the Saudi's can do what they will and we won't interfere, not wholly different than our arming Saddam Hussein in the 1980s war against Iran, and then the invasion of Kuwait. We didn't care, until we did.

The only different between Trump and Obama perhaps is Trump like to pick sides to win, while Obama was more willing to see the necessity that desperate, and isolated neighbors are more dangerous enemies.

trigger warning said...

"The only different between Trump and Obama..."

is that Obama airfreights pallets of cash to oppressive terror regimes and Trump collects pallets of profits.

Anonymous said...

Obama physically bowed to a foreign king. It wasn't because of protocol, it was a choice by a naive, virtue signaling knownothing.