Liberty Expose: Trump of Arabia
When it was announced that President Trump’s first foreign visit would be to the Middle East, it was met by the typical concern that has come to be associated with Trump’s unorthodoxy. Traditionally, the President makes his first foreign visit to either Canada or Mexico, for the obvious reasons of their proximity and status as an important trading partner.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that President Trump deiced to forgo that tradition, considering his near declaration of a trade war with Canada in the opening months of his presidency, and the resentment he has received by many in the Mexican political class - the most notable being the profane remarks made by former Mexican president Vincente Fox, which shows that Mr. Fox can be just as obscene as the American he is criticizing.
The visit will relieve the President from the pressure that arose from the absurdity of the Comey affair, which will be welcome by everyone. Trump will be paying a visit to the Arab peninsula, Israel, the Vatican, and will be attending a NATO summit in Europe. The trip to Saudi Arabia will spearhead his nine-day visit.
The Saudis have been a troubled “ally” – if such a word can be used. They have been responsible for an oil embargo that damaged the American economy, they have supported the intellectual proliferation of radical Islam, and of course it is morally awkward for the often-self-righteous American government to assist a country with horrendous record of women’s rights and the deplorable treatment of the foreign workers that live there. However, the Saudis are often a necessary ally, especially for the intelligence services they provide, and they see themselves in need of American power in an increasingly chaotic Middle East
The Middle East has come a long way in the last eight years. An Iraq on an uneasy path toward stabilization has collapsed back into chaos due to the power vacuum by the American withdrawal; a weakness that the Islamic State was able the massacre their way into. The Arab Spring broke down into the rise of a Muslim Brotherhood backed leader in Egypt – only to be usurped in a coup by despot ready to be accommodating towards the West and Israel. The Obama administration however shunned him.
In Syria, the Arab Spring lead to a horrific civil war and a refugee crises that has led to the resurgence of nationalism in Europe. Iran has had its finances boosted by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran Deal) which has extended Iranian influence in the region.
To counter the influence, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies had had to fight a bloody proxy war in Yemen, with the most recent results of the conflict being a Cholera outbreak. Now the Arab states and Israel are coming increasingly closer together. Note how they could achieve that otherwise unfathomable feat despite no resolution to the “Palestinian question” – which many erudite commentators have said to be the origins of all evil in the Middle East. In Afghanistan, the Taliban is gaining lost territory with the help of their Iranian and Russian backers.
All things considered, the Gulf Arab monarchies and Israelis were ready for a change of leadership in the United States. The Saudis went out of there way to show how far a nation can do pomp and circumstance for a President who loves nothing in the world more than pomp and circumstance. All spectacles were included – from sword dancers to Trump staring into what can only be a questionable glowing sphere.
This trip will provide a clearer perspective into what Trump’s foreign policy will be, which has been an open question. Many commentators on the right have watched with jubilation, hoping to find a reversal in the rhetoric and realty from the foreign policy of former president Obama. It would be a mistake to compare the current to the former president. President Obama was an undeniably terrible foreign policy president, and one would be hard-pressed to find one who disagrees. I have found that even leftist editors of left-leaning magazines such as Foreign Policy admit to the utter failure of the Obama doctrine.
The unfortunate reality is that the international thought of Donald Trump is not that different from that of Barack Obama. In his a little too well-received speech, Trump introduced his ideas regarding the future of the region.
In the speech, he announced the establishment of the center to combat Islamic extremist ideas in Saudi Arabia. This would be funny, had it not been so sad. To locate an anti-extremist center in Saudi Arabia would be like developing an anti-socialist center in Leningrad. (If only there was a Weston government in the region that fought terrorism every day.)
The Saudi government had been responsible for the proliferation of the extremist ideas that serve as a as for groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. President Trump announced an arms deal, which leaving the economic logic utilized aside, would be used in the ever-growing proxy war with Iran. Trump also stated that the United States was not there to judge the Saudi way of life, which one can’t help believing would had led to screams from many of the more partisan voices of the right if President Obama has said such words. The President went on to called on Muslims to expel extremists from society, and called for common realism asked on security interests.
Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia managed to represent American foreign policy and all its contradictions. The president called for Muslims to expel the most radical of their society, while simultaneously refusing to acknowledge that Islamic extremist committed their crimes in the name of religion. He established a center to combat extremism in the government often responsible for the very plague it wants to eradicate. He agreed to an arms deal that will be used in the proxy effort against an Iran boozed by the Iran nuclear deal, which the administration allows to continue.
In a way, the President symbolizes the American conscience in foreign policy; isolationist, and undefined until the complexities of the world force American involvement. One thinks of Irving Kristol’s “mugged by reality” quote. The President, like many Americans, bask in the luxury of not having to think about the world, that is until reality comes.