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Are the Saudi Princes True Friends?
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The 633-word statement of President Donald Trump on the Saudi royals’ role in the grisly murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi is a remarkable document, not only for its ice-cold candor.

The president re-raises a question that has roiled the nation since Jimmy Carter: To what degree should we allow idealistic values trump vital interests in determining foreign policy?

On the matter of who ordered the killing of Khashoggi, Trump does not rule out the crown prince as prime suspect:

“King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder… (but) it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge.”

Yet, whether MBS did or didn’t do it, the Saudis have “agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States.” And a full fourth of that is for “military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and other great U.S. defense contractors.”

“Foolishly” cancel these contracts, warns Trump, and Russia or China will snap them up. Moreover, the Saudis have agreed to pump oil to keep prices down.

Trump is unabashedly putting U.S. economic and strategic interests first. He is not going to damage our relationship with Riyadh and its royal family, even if the future king ordered a cold-blooded killing of a U.S.-based Saudi journalist he regarded as an enemy.

The stark manner in which Trump framed the issue will force the members of Congress of both parties to decide whether they wish to defy Trump, sanction the Saudis and risk the relationship.

Other contentions in Trump’s statement suggest that one of the reasons he is giving the crown prince a pass on the Khashoggi killing is that he sees MBS as an indispensable ally against our real enemy in the region.

After his introductory line, Trump goes into a tear that begins: “The country of Iran… is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen.”

But is this true?

In 2015, it was on the orders of Mohammad bin Salman, then defense minister, that Saudi Arabia intervened in the civil war in Yemen, after Houthi rebels in the north overthrew a Saudi puppet and overran much of the rest of the country.

It is not Iran but Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with U.S. munitions and logistic support, whose troops, bombs and blockade are responsible for the thousands of causalities in Yemen and the millions who suffer from cholera, malnutrition and starvation.

It is not the Iranians who are trying to close the last port of entry for humanitarian aid for the suffering civilian population.

Iran, said Trump, is “propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens)… Likewise the Iranians have killed many Americans and other people throughout the Middle East.”

But the cause of the 7,000 U.S. military dead in the Middle East in this century, and the 60,000 wounded, are the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that were launched by the United States and George Bush, not by Iran.

As for U.S. civilian casualties, the 3,000 we lost in that monstrous atrocity of 9/11 were the victims of 15 Saudi terrorists, not Iranians.


While Iran has aided its Shiite allies in Iraq, and those allies have fought Americans, the major terrorist organizations we fight today in the Near East, Middle East and Africa — al-Qaida and its affiliates, the Taliban, ISIS, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab — are all Sunni, like the Saudis.

These terrorist groups are Iran’s enemies as well as ours.

“Our paramount goal,” Trump declared in his statement, “is to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world.”

But this objective is every bit as utopian as George W. Bush’s second inaugural where he declared the “ultimate goal” of U.S. foreign policy to be “ending tyranny in our world.”

Terrorism and tyranny have been with mankind forever, and they will be with mankind forever.

Trump both titled and concluded his statement “America First.”

And had an America First policy been pursued in this century, we would not today be tied down in these forever wars of the Middle East.

We would not have attempted to create a Western-style democracy in the wilds of Afghanistan. We would not have invaded Iraq, or attacked Libya, or armed rebels to overthrow Assad, thereby igniting a war that has cost half a million Syrian lives and made refugees of millions.

In his statement, Trump praises Saudi Arabia as a “great ally in our very important fight against Iran.”

Yet, Iran has not attacked us, does not want war with us and remains in compliance with the nuclear treaty from which we walked away.

Trump is president because he promised to extricate us from the Mideast wars into which some of his closest advisers, along with some of our closest “allies,” helped to plunge his country.

Is President Trump about to replicate President Bush’s folly?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”

Copyright 2018

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, Middle East, Saudi Arabia 
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  1. Is President Trump about to replicate President Bush’s folly?

    Well, is he?

    • Replies: @Realist
    , @Rabbitnexus
  2. anon[355] • Disclaimer says:

    The only reason Iran is America’s “enemy” is because of Israel and the all powerful Jewish lobby in the USA. The Mideast is really of almost no strategic importance to America. In fact it is thought the USA may become an oil exporting nation again next year for the first time since 1949.

    • Agree: Colin Wright, Realist
    • Replies: @anonymous
  3. I agree with the conclusion implied by the article: Trump has become part of the same structure he opposed in the campaign, and this is a serious mistake.

  4. Anonymous[475] • Disclaimer says:


    • Replies: @anon
    , @Realist
  5. Anonymous [AKA "hasbarascript"] says:

    Tell us Pat, were Trump’s “comments” on MBS/Saudi directly written for him by Israel’s department of hasbara? It sure seems like it.

    How about Saudi foreign minister and all-round snake Jubeir’s warning that attacking MBS directly is a “red line” which should not be crossed?

    Tel Aviv (sorry, Jerusalem) is busy, but never on behalf of the “strategic interest” of the United States.

    That’s why they have to spin 24/7. Oy vey…….

  6. With this statement, President Trump gave all the rogue Arab dictatorships a free rein to behave like thugs with impunity. Already, it catches on with the indictment of a British citizen in the UAE, another rogue regime. The killer Mohammed bin Salman and his “brother in spirit,” Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan, of the UAE, have shown the West its real face. It’s all about money and business. With friends like these, the West doesn’t need ISIS or Boko Haram. Instead of getting tough with these crooks, Trump made Iran the bogeyman. Either Bolton, Netanyahu or bin Salman directly may have written his idiotic statement to whitewash the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Trump even didn’t give a damn about the assessment of his CIA, which terminated Mohammed bin Salman as the sole responsible person.

    I hope that Congress and the American public will give Trump a hard time in the future. He should know it better how this crime could only happen in a dictatorship such as Saudi Arabia. Imagine; in a rogue state such as Saudi Arabia, all of a sudden 17 thugs decide to charter two private planes to Turkey, kill and dismember a Saudi journalist and the highest leadership had not the faintest idea of it. I doubt that the ailing King Salman order this brutal killing, but I am convinced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who runs this rogue regime gave the order.

    I’m baffled that the American public buys Trump’s trash about Iran. All this baloney stems from Bolton, Netanyahu, and Mohammed bin Salman. Iran didn’t kill one American in the Middle East. The Bushes, Obamas, and the neocons are responsible for the death of over 7000 US members of the armed forces and the maiming of over 40000, not to speak of the millions Muslims killed by the intervention of the US.

    Before the Trump regime blames Iran, he should put his own house in order.

    • Replies: @Expletive Deleted
  7. As for U.S. civilian casualties, the 3,000 we lost in that monstrous atrocity of 9/11 were the victims of 15 Saudi terrorists, not Iranians.

    Once again, Pat shows his mastery of the serious art of comedy. I’d love to hear him speak one day as I’m a great fan of stand-up and Pat is one of the best.

  8. The U.S. could be buying any excess oil it needs from White, Christian, Russia and Canada but it’s more in Israel’s interest to prop up the House of Saud so that’s not happening.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Curmudgeon
  9. MarkinLA says:

    Trump is right in not giving a shit about Jamal Khashoggi. He is wrong about everything else.

  10. Trump is complicit with the Crown Prince in the mass murder by starvation and disease in Yemen. Khashoggi is just one more. Sad.

    Still – I’m grateful for the “ice-cold candor”. Yeah it’s murder says Trump. But we need the low oil price.

    I’m a Deplorable. I support the President. But his policies regarding Russia and the Middle East are upside down and backwards. In that arena it is Israel and the MIC first.

  11. MEexpert says:

    After his introductory line, Trump goes into a tear that begins: “The country of Iran… is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen.”

    Like Javed Zarif, the Iranian Foreign Minister, I am surprised that Trump hasn’t blamed Iran for the California fires.

    These terrorist groups are Iran’s enemies as well as ours.

    Maybe it is time for Pat Buchanan to put his pen down or turn off his computer. How could the ISIS and Al-Qaeda be common enemies of the US and Iran? As a matter of fact, both the ISIS and Al-Qaeda are US/Israel/Saudi Arabia creations. They are not our enemies. They are our bosom buddies. In reality, it is the US/Israel/Saudi Arabia/ISIS/Al-Qaeda on one side and Iran on the other.

  12. Are the Saudi Princes True Friends?

    Nations don’t have ‘friends’. This isn’t Facebook or the high-school social scene.

    Nations can and do have allies; other nations or states with common or negotiated interests who sign contracts, treaties, or agreements of mutual benefit.

  13. @Ludwig Watzal

    Looks like the 2022 World Cup in Quatar is going to be an absolute feast of fun. Arresting and detaining thousands of blind-drunk, sunburn-maddened Russians, Germans and Brits.
    What could possibly go wrong?

  14. anon[355] • Disclaimer says:
    @Johnny Smoggins

    Alberta alone may have more oil then all of Saudi Arabia. And it is right next door too.

  15. anon[355] • Disclaimer says:

    You are thinking in the 1970’s. The USA today gets almost none of its oil from the Mideast.

  16. anonymous[161] • Disclaimer says:

    Racist imperialist hypocrite Christu-pagan conservative Buchanan and his deceitful deflecting queries.

    The real query has always been, Are the Americans True Friends of anybody (especially of the so-called third world, those considered lesser humans)?

    The obvious answer would be, effing No!!

  17. According to this article, which I seriously hope is correct, we could be in a position to tell the Saudis to stick their heads in their oil wells and count to a million:

  18. Realist says:

    Trump is a Deep Stater through and through. The inability to see this is amazing. Trumps actions speak louder than his words. No wall=cheap labor, increased militarism=weapons profits.

    • Replies: @RVBlake
    , @Curmudgeon
  19. Realist says:

    If the US weren’t such assholes to Russia and Iran they could get their oil from them. But Israel will have none of that.

    • Replies: @Rosamond Vincy
  20. RVBlake says:

    Yes. His Cabinet selections upon his assuming office betrayed his intentions.

  21. @Johnny Smoggins

    The U.S. could be buying any excess oil it needs from White, Christian, Russia and Canada

    Well Russia may be White and Christian, but Canada was offered up to the devil 50 years ago, and is becoming non-White faster than the US.

    • Replies: @anon
  22. @Realist

    While Ann Coulter seems to think a wall can be built without the RINOs and Congressional approval, I suggest that any attempt to do that would be derailed by the 9th District Court. Ya think Trump doesn’t understand that?

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  23. @Realist

    Drill Alaska and use shake pil from Texas, and we wouldn’t have to kiss up to Saudi Arabia or Iran.

    • Replies: @Rosamond Vincy
    , @Realist
  24. Realist says:

    While Ann Coulter seems to think a wall can be built without the RINOs and Congressional approval, I suggest that any attempt to do that would be derailed by the 9th District Court. Ya think Trump doesn’t understand that?

    That’s bullshit. Anything Trump does can be, and in many cases is, derailed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (which is the correct title). So why try to do anything??? That is a lame excuse for Trumps refusal to keep his campaign promise.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
  25. Realist says:
    @Rosamond Vincy

    Drill Alaska and use shake pil from Texas, and we wouldn’t have to kiss up to Saudi Arabia or Iran.

    An increase in domestic production would be ideal. But we are letting politics dictate suppliers. We don’t have to kiss up to anybody. If a potential producer wants to sell oil…we’ll buy it, if not we’ll go else where. We don’t have to like or agree with them, but if they sell at a reasonable price we’ll buy.

  26. Anonymous [AKA "BritCan"] says:

    ”hundreds of armoured vehicles made by Canadian company Streit Group in the UAE have been videoed in Yemen. Equipment from three other Canadian armoured vehicle makers – Terradyne, IAG Guardian and General Dynamics Land Systems Canada– was found with Saudi-backed forces in Yemen. Between May and July Canada exported $758.6 million worth of “tanks and other armored fighting vehicles” to the Saudis.

    The Saudi coalition used Canadian-made rifles as well.“Canada helped fuel the war in Yemen by exporting more rifles to Saudi Arabia than it did to the U.S. ($7.15 million vs. $4.98 million)”, tweeted Fenton regarding export figures from July and August.”

    Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?

  27. anon[355] • Disclaimer says:

    You can thank the Liberal party for that, especially Trudeau. His dickhead son continues his nation-destroying legacy,

  28. It blows my mind and breaks my heart that President Trump became a George Bush neocon on steroids. Americans were tired of George Bush a decade ago. How can Trump win again as a Bushie.

  29. Anon[316] • Disclaimer says:

    ” •UK (MI6) concocted the plans (or fakery) to kidnap Khashoggi ”

    ” •The CIA and Mossad got involved in this UK plot ”

    “I was the first and only person to debunk the media reports on the alleged Turkish fiancé. Only a few months before coming to Turkey, Khashoggi, while still married in Saudi Arabia, married an Egyptian woman in the US/Canada, with a public and publicized wedding- a sharia wedding. I obtained the pictures of his wedding and his new wife. The media, despite being fully aware of this, omitted this fact from their coverage. ”

    Khashoggi Case: A Massive PsyOp Concocted by CIA-MI6-Mossad

  30. Anonymous [AKA "Chabad Lubavitch"] says:

    Neo-Con Don. Neo-Con Don.

  31. KevinV says:

    Khashoggi was not a U.S.-based journalist. He was neither a U.S. citizen, nor a U.S. Legal Permanent Resident (LPR), despite the many lies in the press to the contrary. Nor did he maintain a residence in the U.S.

    He arrived from Saudi Arabia on a U.S. tourist visa and was visiting family, and writing pieces for the Washington Post, while making plans for a new life in Turkey.

    This is NOT the concern of the U.S. in any way, shape, manner or form.

  32. Anonymous [AKA "Gina swinging slowly in the winds"] says:

    Trump is purely reactive in this incident. No geopolitical shifts are happening here. What’s happening is this. The DCI is personally implicated in CIA’s universal-jurisdiction crime against humanity of systematic and widespread torture. That’s how she got her job: she is motivated to maintain CIA impunity for the gravest crimes.

    Her approach is, “If this shit doesn’t go away, you’re all going down with me.” She’s leaked evidence that implicates Britain, Poland, and other allies. This is all part of the same campaign. This incident has nothing to do with any sort of national interest. It’s CIA protecting its single vital interest, impunity. So let’s not overthink it. Your criminal state is on the lam, that’s all.

  33. @byrresheim

    About to? He already has. He bent over for the same people and from then on it was all over red rover.

  34. anonymous[204] • Disclaimer says:

    The reason the illiterate Jewish Mafia pimp and the terrorist state of US is against Iran is that US/Israel want Iran be LIKE SAUDI ARABIA, to put its wealth, resources and brain at the service of these mass murderers and fund YOUR crimes against humanity and send Iranian people to kill and be killed for the interests of stupid and arrogant American criminals. Iran refuses.

    MBS not only does all above, but his behind is in the service of Zionism/imperialism like Al sisi, the butcher of Egypt.

    Arab people must wipe MBS and Al sisi off the map, along with baby killer Netanyahu.
    Death to mass murderers.

  35. Art says:

    In his statement, Trump praises Saudi Arabia as a “great ally in our very important fight against Iran.”

    Sorry — but that is Jew talk – it is Israel first talk – not America first talk.

    Sorry — but that is Ivanka and Jared talking.

    Sorry — but Daddy Trump is under Ivanka’s spell.

    Sorry — but after 2020 there could be a war with Iran????

    Think Peace — Do NO Harm — Art

  36. MarkinLA says:

    Trump doesn’t have to listen to the 9th Circuit. They don’t have an army.

  37. MarkinLA says:

    You are right Realist. Trump is a big-mouthed pussy. He can tell the courts to shove it when they clearly do not have the legal authority they claim they do. He has had plenty of opportunities to go against them when they clearly are in the wrong but he defers until it goes to SCOTUS.

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