Given the tortured logic he provided in justification, many may be hard-pressed to understand that President Trump is solely right on one level: Abandoning Saudi Arabia “could be a horrible mistake.”


But that doesn’t justify treating the dominion just like the senior associate on this alliance.


Trump has sparked bipartisan outrage by seemingly exonerating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of involvement within the homicide of Jamal Khashoggi — and suggesting that, both approach, it doesn’t actually matter.


The president’s predominant concern appears to be financial: He cited Riyadh’s function in stabilizing oil costs, its US investments and profitable arms offers in saying he was “not going to destroy the economic system of our nation.”


The factors are legitimate, but it surely’s a mistake to border all the things when it comes to dollars and cents — not least as a result of it suggests US overseas coverage is on the market.


On the opposite excessive are these desperate to ignore geopolitical realities and America’s reliable safety pursuits — in addition to the advanced decades-long historical past of US-Saudi relations. Saudi Arabia is vital to US pursuits in countering Iran, combating terrorism and defending Israel.


As Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) admits, “We’ve to take care of dangerous actors and imperfect conditions on the worldwide stage.” And Saudi Arabia is a nasty actor that shares our broader strategic pursuits.


However the truth that Washington can’t throw away that relationship doesn’t imply that Trump ought to meekly undergo the Saudi insistence that MBS performed no function in Khashoggi’s dying, when US intelligence strongly believes in any other case.


Reality is, the Saudis want us greater than we want them — and on most of the identical points. Most clearly, Iran poses a far better and extra instant menace to Riyadh than to Washington.


To be honest, Crew Trump has already shifted since Khashoggi’s killing, specifically by slashing US assist for the Saudi conflict in Yemen. Extra is probably going forward, as Congress pushes for Magnitsky Act sanctions on MBS personally.


The US-Saudi alliance is essential — however it is going to survive simply high-quality even when MBS falls from energy.




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