Trump’s hypocritical reversal on Saudi Arabia

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Saudia Arabian King Salman, Melania Trump, and President Donald Trump.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Saudi Arabian King Salman, Melania Trump, and President Donald Trump.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, candidate Donald Trump posted on Facebook: “Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries!”

Once elected, Trump visited Saudia Arabia in his first presidential trip abroad. He received the red-carpet treatment and bowed while having an honorary collar placed around his neck by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a gesture for which he had ridiculed President Barack Obama only a few years earlier.

While hobnobbing with Saudi royalty, Trump signed off on a record sale of U.S. arms to Saudi Arabia of nearly $110 billion. Those U.S.-made tanks, artillery, radar systems, armored personnel carriers, Black Hawk helicopters, ships, patrol boats, Patriot missiles, and THAAD missile defense systems are playing a big part in the Saudi war with neighboring Yemen. This means that U.S. military hardware is being used in a war that has reportedly killed 10,000 Yemenis and pushed 17 million to the edge of starvation.

Meanwhile, a palace coup has taken place within Saudia Arabia’s ruling family. The king replaced Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayef with his own son, Mohammad bin Salman. This new crown prince has arrested billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and dozens of other princes, ministers, and former ministers. Many of their bank accounts have been frozen and many are being held prisoner in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton.

“The United States has no business and no self-interest in selling lethal modern arms to an unstable medieval monarchy in the Middle East.” said Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark. “It’s folly for us to get involved in a civil war in Yemen. It’s even greater folly when that civil war appears to be a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia for regional hegemony. U.S. military intervention has already contributed to massive human tragedy in Iraq, Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East. We don’t need to add to that more suffering in Yemen.”

Waging war for political, ideological, or cultural reasons is horrifying enough, but government leaders also justify their mass killing as an opportunistic pretext for interfering in world markets.

“Maintaining the petrodollar and our access to Middle East oil is not worth the cost in blood and starvation visited upon the people of the region,” Sarwark continued. “And we can be pretty sure that whoever wins in the palace coups, civil wars and wars between countries will still sell us all the oil we need. It’s time to heed the words of our founders: ‘peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.’”