As many of you know, I try very hard to avoid commenting on breaking news, especially when it involves President Trump. I think the media does this too much and, as a consequence, tends to miss the forest for the trees. Also, since Mr. Trump is covered so comprehensively by mainstream journalists, there is not much value that I can add. However, I’m making an exception after reading this over at Angry Bear:
Juan Cole reports that the US is blocking a UN Security Council resolution proposed by Britain and supposedly supported by all the other nations in it for a ceasefire around the Yemeni port of Hodeida…. The UNSC proposal is for a ceasefire around Hodeida, but MbS reportedly “threw a fit” when he learned of this proposal, which apparently includes wording that is very supportive of the Saudi-backed government in Yemen and critical of the Houthis. But MbS wants no halt to the campaign to conquer Hodeida and starve the Houthis and those in their territories. So, Trump has kowtowed to this “fit,” and is apparently blocking the proposal, despite it coming from the British and containing anti-Houthi language. There have been reports that MbS has said that he has Jared Kushner “in his pocket,” but it is now screamingly clear that this nauseating murderer also has President Trump “in his pocket” as well.
Frankly, this is more pathetic leadership from Trump, who has done nothing positive for America’s image abroad. As many have pointed out, the president is willing to attack, offend, and squeeze America’s dearest friends and closest allies while, at the same time, bending over backward to appease strongmen and murderous despots (he literally said publicly that he has fallen in love with Kim Jong-un). Saudi Arabia needs the United States much more than America needs Saudi Arabia, and this is obvious to anyone with a shred of knowledge about the region. Washington has many valuable allies in the Middle East, including Israel, Jordan, and Qatar; so when push comes to shove, Saudi Arabia is redundant.
It seems to me as if the U.S. has gotten itself into a classic American predicament of backing a reprehensible, incompetent leader and then becoming stuck with them lest everything collapse. In Vietnam, this resulted in years of bloodletting as American soldiers bailed out the corrupt and unfocused South Vietnamese leaders who were so focused on defeating each other that they could never beat the North. A similar situation emerged in Afghanistan with that clown Karzai. It would be nice if, for once, the U.S. realized its leverage and was willing to risk a small mess to prevent a much bigger one. Instead of bailing out a murderous ruler sowing chaos in a strategically consequential region, perhaps we could allow him to suffer the consequences of his brazen actions. Sadly, our “dealmaker in chief” is too stupid to realize that he holds almost all the cards.