While the Ukrainian matter dominated the news cycle over the last 48 hours, Trump edged the country closer to conflict in the Middle East, sending troops and arms to Saudi Arabia. From the Financial Times:
The Pentagon is preparing to send weapons and hundreds of troops to Saudi Arabia to help the nation boost its military defences following the alleged Iranian attack last weekend that knocked out half of the kingdom’s crude oil production.
General Joe Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs, and Mark Esper, defence secretary, said Donald Trump ordered the deployments after requests from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Maybe I am getting a little paranoid, but I find it highly odd that both the Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs would note that Trump granted an order “requested by” Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Trump congratulated himself for granting Saudi Arabia’s request so perfectly:
“The thing that does show strength would be showing a little bit of restraint,” Mr Trump said, before adding: “Iran knows that if they misbehave, they are on borrowed time.”
Speaking alongside Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, the US president rejected criticisms that he was being weak: “Going into Iran would be a very easy decision . . . most people thought I would go in within two seconds . . . I’m showing great restraint.”
Yes, “great restraint.” You did exactly as Saudi Arabia asked, and by that you showed “great restraint”?
Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi was not interested in answering requests from the Saudis, and let Trump know that he was in violation of yet another American law.
“President Trump’s plan to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to Saudi Arabia and UAE, and to deploy additional U.S. forces to the region is the latest outrageous attempt by the Trump Administration to circumvent the bipartisan, bicameral will of Congress. These unacceptable actions are cause for alarm. …
“Once again, President Trump is turning a blind eye to Saudi Arabia’s continued violence against innocent Yemenis, as well as its horrific murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and its gross abuses of human rights, which represent a moral and humanitarian crisis. The United States cannot enable more brutality and bloodshed.”
I do not mean to sound defeatist, because I certainly am not admitting defeat. Nor am I stating that Pelosi is wrong in her strongly-worded statement. It all just seems “quaint” to be discussing “laws” and “restraint” when we suspect that Trump is following Saudi Arabia’s “requests” to the letter. Because that is what Trump does. He puts U.S. foreign policy up for sale to the highest bidder and few can beat Saudi purchasing power.
This coming week will be the most consequential yet in Trump’s presidency. We are on the edge of war, and the edge of fascism. We need our leaders to show leadership, and move resolutely. I do not know the “best” plan, I only know that they best have a plan.
Because if this coming week shrinks back into accepting Trump’s actions from last week, the Ukrainian matter and ignoring the law to edge the U.S. closer to war, if it sounds like this last week was “just another scandal,” then it will be “just another scandal,” and we will have learned nothing with respect to controlling or checking Trump’s abuse of power.
“Following Saudi Arabia’s request …” Pfftt. I bet he did. Why would he not follow Saudi Arabia’s request? Speaker Pelosi? You better come up with a plan.