In The Khashoggi Crisis, Trump’s Greed And Moral Cowardice Are On Full Display

President Trump is choosing money and moral cowardice over human life in his response to the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

As the truth about the disappearance of Washington Post columnist, Saudi dissident, and American Permanent Resident Jamal Khashoggi becomes more apparent, the Trump Administration seems intent to respond in the weakest way possible even as many Republican members of the House and Senate have begun lining up to call for a tougher stance against Riyadh:

WASHINGTON — The suspected murder of a prominent Saudi journalist exposed a growing rift on Thursday between the White House and Congress over American policy on Saudi Arabia, as Republican lawmakers demanded an investigation of Jamal Khashoggi’s whereabouts even as President Trump declared his relations with Riyadh “excellent.”

The Saudi-led, United States-backed bombing campaign of Houthi rebels in Yemen — which has killed thousands of civilians — was already a source of tension between Congress and the Trump administration.

But last week’s disappearance of Mr. Khashoggi, a well-connected Saudi columnist for The Washington Post living in Virginia, has incensed Republicans and Democrats in Congress, who accused the White House of moving too slowly in pressing the kingdom for answers.

“The Saudis will keep killing civilians and journalists as long as we keep arming and assisting them,” Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, said on Twitter on Thursday. “The President should immediately halt arms sales and military support to Saudi Arabia.”

But Mr. Trump quickly made clear he would not.

“What good does that do us?” Mr. Trump asked, speaking to reporters midday in the Oval Office.

“I would not be in favor of stopping a country from spending $110 billion — which is an all-time record — and letting Russia have that money and letting China have that money,” Mr. Trump said, referring to an arms deal with the Saudis, brokered last year, that the president has said will lead to new American jobs.

Earlier on Thursday, in an interview with “Fox & Friends,” Mr. Trump said American investigators were working with Turkish and Saudi officials to determine what happened to Mr. Khashoggi, who has not been seen sincehe entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Turkish officials suspect a Saudi hit squad killed and dismembered Mr. Khashoggi inside the consulate, and, according to two people Turkish authorities have briefed on their findings, say they have audio and video recordings that prove he was killed.

The president said he and his administration were “looking at it very, very seriously” and expected to have more information soon.

“We want to find out what happened,” Mr. Trump said. “He went in and it doesn’t look like he came out.”

“We don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said. “I don’t like it. No good.” But he added that relations with the kingdom were “excellent.”

While the White House is being circumspect in the light of the overwhelming evidence against the Saudis, members of the House and Senate on both sides of the aisle are being significantly more vocal:

[T]he most intense pressure on the Saudis is likely to come from Congress, where both Democrats and Republicans have criticized Saudi policies that promote Islamic extremism and connections to terrorism, especially after the September 11 attacks, in which 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi members of al-Qaeda. Since Saudi Arabia launched a war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen in 2015, a growing number of lawmakers have been concerned about the civilian death toll and have tried to curtail U.S. military assistance to the Saudis and their allies.

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of 22 senators sent a letter to President Donald Trump, which will force the administration to investigate Khashoggi’s disappearance. The letter invoked a law, the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, that allows Congress to order an investigation by the executive branch into human-rights violations—including torture, abduction, and extrajudicial killing—“against an individual exercising freedom of expression.” The lawmakers called on Trump to impose sanctions on “any foreign person responsible for such a violation related to Mr. Khashoggi,” including “the highest ranking officials in the Government of Saudi Arabia.” The law gives Trump 120 days to conduct an investigation, identify the culprits, and determine whether sanctions are justified.

It’s unlikely that the Trump administration would blame the crown prince for Khashoggi’s fate, which would trigger sanctions against the most senior Saudi royals. But by invoking the Magnitsky Act, senators are sending a signal to Trump and Saudi leaders that they will not let this matter go. The letter was orchestrated by Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the committee’s ranking member. Before sending it to Trump, Corker reportedly examined classified U.S. intelligence files on Khashoggi’s case, and said he had determined that the Turkish narrative was relatively reliable. “We need to take some type of action,” he said, “and there are some things we can do congressionally.” In an interview with CNN on Thursday, he went even further, saying: “My instincts say that there’s no question the Saudi government did this, and my instincts say that they murdered him.”

This isn’t the first time that Corker has sought to use his leverage as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to pressure the Saudis. In June 2017, he put a hold on U.S. weapons sales to all six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council until Saudi Arabia and two of its allies, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, settled their conflict with Qatar over its muscular foreign policy and relationship with Iran, the kingdom’s regional rival. Eight months after the crisis started, and with no sign of the Saudis backing down, Corker relented and lifted his hold, saying the arms deals were needed to help Washington fight terrorism.

Other lawmakers who have been supportive of the Saudis are also taking a hard line on Khashoggi’s case. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a member of the Armed Services Committee and a Trump ally, said that if the Saudis were found responsible for the journalist’s death, there would be “hell to pay.” He added, “If this man was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, that would cross every line of normality in the international community.”

Even if the Magnitsky Act investigation does not lead to sanctions, Congress could make the Saudis pay a price for Khashoggi’s disappearance by restricting U.S. military assistance for the Yemen war. Members of Congress are already angry with the Trump administration for minimizing their concerns about civilian casualties and the United States being implicated in potential war crimes. Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certified to Congress that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are taking “demonstrable actions” to avoid harming civilians and making a “good faith” effort to reach a political settlement to end the Yemen war. Without the administration’s assurance every six months, the Pentagon cannot continue providing military assistance to the Saudi-led coalition waging war in Yemen.

On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of seven senators, likely emboldened by the Khashoggi crisis, wrote to Pompeo, questioning his decision to certify that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are doing enough to prevent civilian casualties in Yemen, where some estimates put the death toll at 50,000. Menendez is blocking the administration from moving ahead with a multibillion-dollar deal to sell more than 120,000 missiles and other munitions to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The aforementioned weapons deal, which Trump has claimed to be worth some $110 billion, has apparently been forefront in the President’s mind as the Administration struggles with a way to respond to the Khashoggi crisis without adversely impacting American relations with the Kingdom. Essentially, he argued that the life of an American resident alien and human being was not worth canceling such a valuable military deal. As Glenn Kessler notes in The Washington Post, the truth is that the deal, such as it exists, is likely worth far less than that. Even if it was the truth, though, the idea that an arms deal is worth more to Trump than pursuing the truth about the murder of a human being who has been legally living in the United States for years and who committed no crime other than being a dissident is yet another despicable reminder of the moral depravity that this man has brought to the Oval Office.

In addition to the arms deal, analysts have suggested that there may be other, more personal, reasons that Trump is reluctant to criticize the Saudis. For example, it’s fairly well-known that The Trump Organization has significant business interests in both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, including both hotel deals and financial dealings with Saudis that are alleged to go back more than twenty years to the time when Trump was facing financial difficulties and seeking assistance with a bailout from a wide variety of foreign sources, including not just the Saudis but also the Russians. Additionally, there is significant evidence of extensive financial ties between the family of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Saudis that are still being actively pursued to this date. Finally, it’s fairly well known that Kushner himself has a close relationship with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the point that bin Salman once boasted that he had Kushner “in his pocket.”  Given this, it’s not hard to figure out that Trump is likely more concerned about personal financial concerns and does not wish to cross the leaders of what he considers to be a friendly nation.

As Ishaan Tharoor puts it in The Washington Post, Trump has chosen authoritarianism over Khashoggi:

Of course, Trump’s predecessors weren’t dogged defenders of Arab democracy, either. “U.S. acquiescence to the death of the Arab Spring stemmed from both the cynical realism of key Obama officials and heavy pressure from the Saudis and the Emiratis, both of whom viewed the regional uprisings as mortal threats to their style of monarchical rule,” wrote Evan Hill for Slate.

“The reactionary kings and princes of the Gulf did all they could to smother Egypt’s democracy movement, funneling billions of dollars to Sissi and his supporters,” Hill continued. “Such was their antipathy to the Arab revolts and the political Islamists they empowered that they viewed even the Obama administration’s tepid openness to the Muslim Brotherhood as a foul conspiracy.”

But if the Obama administration struggled to reckon with political turmoil in the Middle East, Trump has made emphatically clear that he isn’t interested in humoring democratic experiments at all. The disappearance of Khashoggi only reinforces how much he’s willing to ignore to back his strongman friends — especially when it makes him rich.

None of this should come as a surprise, of course. From the start of his Presidency, we have seen this President display nothing short of contempt for America’s democratic allies, as I’ve noted herehere, and here, while displaying what can only be called stunningly obsequious behavior toward authoritarian rules such as the Saud family, General al-Sisi in Egypt, President Duterte in The Philippines, and, of course, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. After he became President, one of Trump’s first international trips was not to Mexico or Canada as has traditionally been the case with new Presidents, but to Saudi Arabia where he was lauded with what can only be described as a massive exercise in ego-stroking that has obviously worked well on this President. Now that ego stroking is paying off as Trump displays what can be called moral cowardice in response to cold-blooded murder. I’m sure the Saudis are appreciating the fact that their investment is paying off nicely.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Donald Trump, National Security, Politicians, US Politics, , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Gustopher says:

    Moral cowardice requires knowing the right thing to do, and then being afraid to do the right thing because of consequences.

    Nothing has shown that Trump views the death of Khashoggi, and the expected response, as anything other than an annoying nuisance that is getting in the way of what he wants to do.

    Moral apathy is probably closer than moral cowardice.

    27
  2. Teve says:

    Trump’s super-duper lying about the “$110 Billion” deal? I am shocked!

    12
  3. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    So Dennison put a price-tag on Khashoggi’s life, and then even that was discounted?
    Stay classy, Republicans.

    12
  4. Kathy says:

    What I find hard to believe is how incompetently El Dennison handles things like this.

    It’s a serious matter, and also a difficult, complicated situation. Saudi Arabia is a major regional power, and also highly influential in determining international oil prices.

    But what does anyone gain from immediately saying, in effect, “We’ll do nothing about this”?

    It’s so effing elementary. You don’t say what you’ll do, but you say you’ll do something and all options are on the table. You also apply pressure publicly in demanding accountability, and urge other nations to do the same. privately you apply such pressure as you can, and issue such threats as are warranted.

    Seriously, who doesn’t know these things?

    And bringing money into play is just plain stupid. $100 billion is a great deal of money, but not out of the reach of many other nations. El Cheeto is saying he is for sale, and by extension so is America. Perhaps Maduro ought to talk to Kushner about some tanks he’s had his eye on.

    22
  5. Ben Wolf says:

    Even if it was the truth, though, the idea that an arms deal is worth more to Trump than pursuing the truth about the murder of a human being who has been legally living in the United States for years and who committed no crime other than being a dissident is yet another despicable reminder of the moral depravity that this man has brought to the Oval Office.

    Fascist movements elevate the brutal and the stupid.

    20
  6. SenyorDave says:

    There is no bottom with Trump and his people. If you took 100 random people off the street, Trump would be among the five worst of the bunch.

    6
  7. Teve says:

    @SenyorDave: His own lawyers said he lied so automatically, so compulsively, that it should be considered a medical disability. Your average car thief is better than that. Nigerian email scammers have distinctly more integrity.

    11
  8. An Interested Party says:

    Is there any situation where Trump’s greed and moral cowardice aren’t on full display?

    Hell, even Obama cozied up to the dictator of Cuba, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and the terrorists running Iran.

    Umm, how, exactly, did he “cozy up” with these regimes?

    Despite those shortfalls, it still took a brave President like Obama to stand up to Israel and Netanyahu.

    Oh cry me a river…it’s a little hard to find sympathy for a government that seems to be taking its ideas from the former National Party of South Africa…

    22
  9. Jen says:

    CNN was saying this morning that Trump still talks about how well he was treated during his visit to Saudi Arabia. He is entirely transactional in his thinking, and it’s 100% tied to him personally.

    This is a not-very-bright person who needs to act in a clear, decisive, and thoughtful way. I’m not holding my breath that Congress will maintain any whiff of having a spine either.

    19
  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    Transactional is such a nice word. Trump is for sale. Trump is a whore, and I mean no disrespect to honest sex workers. Wave a dollar in front of Trump’s snout and he can’t help himself. Trump is an absolute piece of shit and the creeps who support him aren’t much better.

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  11. CSK says:

    @Jen:

    Trump’s primary concern is the amount of money involved here: $110 billion dollars. It’s an occasion for him to brag: “An all-time record!” It hardly matters if that’s true, which it probably isn’t.

    7
  12. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Some of the creeps may actually be worse than Trump, hard as it is to believe. One of the commenters at Lucianne.com said that if Khashoggi worked for the WaPo, it was good riddance.

    13
  13. Teve says:

    @CSK:

    Trump’s primary concern is the amount of money involved here: $110 billion dollars. It’s an occasion for him to brag: “An all-time record!” It hardly matters if that’s true, which it probably isn’t.

    “No president in history has ever gotten such a good deal for ignoring an assassination!”

    19
  14. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    the creeps who support him aren’t much better.

    I would offer that the creeps who support him (JKB, Bungie, Guarneri, TMzero, J-enos, etc.) are actually much worse. At least Dennison is profiting. The sycophants are merely hangers-on…cultists…people too weak to find their own way in life.
    Hey, Kool-Aid!!!
    We all know who Jim Jones was. Can you name one other person, of the 900+, who died in Jonestown, Guyana?

    10
  15. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Which reminds me…where is Bungie?
    Did he get banned, too?

    3
  16. Scott F. says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The only problem with the whore analogy is that Trump is never the one giving up his body for money. He’s whoring out the country and then collecting the funds. But then, pimp is not a strong enough word. Trump is a sex trafficker.

    10
  17. Scott F. says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    JKB, Bungie, Guarneri, et al, are not the supporting creeps that matter in the end. They are just of a kind with the rabid fans howling in mobs at Trump rallies. They can be and should be ignored.

    The creeps who support Trump that matter sit in Congress with an R after their names. And they are worse than Trump by far. Because if they could grow even a semblance of a spine and fulfill their role in oversight, they could mitigate for Trump’s most egregious behavior. Even better, we could be rid of this abomination in the White House, if they’d only put the country over party power.

    15
  18. dazedandconfused says:

    I’m definitely out of step on this, aside from Kashhoggi being a US resident, the by far larger issue in this is a matter between Turkey and KSA.

    If the Turks feel the Saud’s are using their Turkish consulate as a butcher shop, they are morally compelled to order it closed. They haven’t done that…and the evidence is reportedly all coming from the Turkish intelligence agencies.

    For that reason I urge caution. Something is still quite odd about this as it is being currently reported in the media. Not that Trump wouldn’t be acting the same way if it was proven, or anything. The only charge here against him I will quibble with is “moral cowardice”, which doesn’t seem possible in a person bereft of morals.

    6
  19. Kathy says:

    Someone should tell El Cheeto that people who buy politicians don’t respect the object of their purchase, but rather feel a great deal of contempt towards them.

    An ally of Rome in the first century BCE, Jugurtha, king of Numidia, managed to buy several Senators in order to gain power and influence in his kingdom. He remarked of the city of Rome once “A city for sale, and doomed to destruction should it find a buyer.”

    6
  20. SenyorDave says:

    @Scott F.: The creeps who support Trump that matter sit in Congress with an R after their names.

    Point on! McConnell is one of the sorriest excuses for a human I’ve ever seen, not even taking into account he is Majority Leader. He doesn’t even pretend that he cares about the country, and is 100% party first. Oversight of Trump? Both houses are a joke, with the House conducting an “investigation” into Russia meddling led by a guy who almost seems to be a Russian operative.

    8
  21. Jen says:

    @dazedandconfused: They were discussing this on the NPR station I listen to. It was noted that the Turkish government is releasing this information in a very specific manner. The information on the evidence is being leaked out to foreign press by one group, and the delegation that has invited the Saudis in for an investigation is being handled separately. (They used the comparison of this being like Trump agreeing to work with Russia on election cybersecurity.)

    In short, there are a lot of strange factors to be certain, and yes a certain amount of caution is merited. But those who have seen/heard the evidence seem pretty convinced, but it’s tricky, as is everything in that the Saudis touch.

    2
  22. KM says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    For that reason I urge caution. Something is still quite odd about this as it is being currently reported in the media.

    Oh I don’t doubt everyone’s taking advantage of this for all it’s worth. There’s nothing accident about any of this, including the aftermath.

    Still, the truth of the matter is he went in and never came out. He had to go SOMEWHERE, even as a corpse (and let’s face it, he’s probably a corpse now). Had something bad happened to him such as a stroke or even a heated debate that turned violent and fatal, it would still have been in their best interests to produced a body instead of going IDK. Him dying on their property under less then auspicious circumstances isn’t *nearly* as bad as him going missing a closed, secure, government-controlled environment and shrugging it off.

    While in the consulate, he was under their auspices and thus their care. If they DIDN’T do anything to him, they’re certainly not acting like innocent people or show concern for his fate. If they DID do something to him, then they’re counting on the fact that it’s inherently “weird” to help spread doubts. Fake news, baby – not just for MAGA anymore!

    6
  23. Stormy Dragon says:

    There’s a sort of ironic converse of Stalin’s dictum about death going on here when all these people who were fine selling Saudis weapons for a pseudo-genocide in Yemen last week suddenly want to call it off because one person they know got killed.

    That is to say, this is less Trump’s greed and moral cowardice on full display so much as America’s greed and moral cowardice on full display.

    16
  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Is it possible that Trump is what you get when you “drag a $1oo bill through a trailer park?” (H/T: James Carville) I mean, I would’ve guessed that a $20 or maybe a $50 would do, but I don’t know much about dragging money through trailer parks. Do you use a string or just kinda slowly walk with the money folded between your index and middle fingers?

    2
  25. Raoul says:

    If we don’t stand against murder and dismemberment, then we don’t stand for anything -is this American exceptionalism at work?

    2
  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    While I’m here anyway:

    But by invoking the Magnitsky Act, senators are sending a signal to Trump and Saudi leaders that they will not let this matter go.

    Sorry, but they’ll let this matter go. In fact, they need the pseudo investigation (probably by a crack SCOTUS appointee investigatory team) to have this fall far enough off the news cycle to get away with it. I offer the following from the same article:

    This isn’t the first time that Corker has sought to use his leverage as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to pressure the Saudis. In June 2017, he put a hold on U.S. weapons sales to all six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council until Saudi Arabia and two of its allies, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, settled their conflict with Qatar over its muscular foreign policy and relationship with Iran, the kingdom’s regional rival. Eight months after the crisis started, and with no sign of the Saudis backing down, Corker relented and lifted his hold, saying the arms deals were needed to help Washington fight terrorism.

    The man’s an absolute bulldog on these things. And a corker…

    1
  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    ” …if they’d only put the country over party power.”

    Well, they’re not going to. Sorry.

    2
  28. CSK says:

    Oh, swell. Trump Junior just Tweeted that Khashoggi was a terrorist supporter because he interviewed bin Laden 28 years ago.

    8
  29. Kathy says:

    @KM:

    I bet the Saudis will gleefully claim, again and again, that you can’t prove murder without a body.

    1
  30. Barry says:

    @Marvin Miller: “Hell, even Obama cozied up to the dictator of Cuba, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and the terrorists running Iran.”

    Um, no. Under Obama, the Muslim Brotherhood was crushed by a US-backed government; Iran was forced into nuclear disarmament.

    8
  31. the Q says:

    Something’s up. The Turks released the American Pastor yesterday. Probably to get that rancorous issue out of the way as they seek our help dealing with SA.

    5
  32. Eric Florack says:

    It wasn’t so long ago that we went into iraq on moral grounds with everybody in the country including the Democrats screaming that we needed to pound the crap out of saddam on those moral grounds.

    How did that work out?

    the one thing that that should have taught us is that things in the Middle East are almost never as they seem.

    Trump is operating carefully here, as well he should… Something the Democrats historically have been unable to do, or more likely unwilling to do.

    Interesting blip from the Washington Free Beacon this morning on the subject…

    The passions inflamed by the potential state-sanctioned murder of a famous journalist who was a friend to many in the worlds of diplomacy and media do not subside easily. Before taking action, congressmen and administration officials ought to think seriously and dispassionately about the potential fallout of the course advocated by Senator Paul. It would not benefit anyone, least of all the United States, if Iran ends up gaining most from the Khashoggi affair.

    Because Iran, while not mentioned in relation to Khashoggi, is nonetheless a factor in this story. It is pressing against the Saudis on multiple fronts. It has fostered Shia rebellion within the kingdom itself and in Bahrain. It has armed and abetted the Houthis. Its proxies are on the cusp of victory in Syria, effectively control Lebanon, and have sown chaos in Iraq. Iran’s European allies are attempting to create a financial lifeline that would provide relief from U.S. sanctions.

    Saudi Arabia has been the linchpin of America’s Middle East strategy for close to a century. That relationship has not been without costs. What would the cost be if the alliance fractured? The Saudis would be imperiled in Yemen, potentially endangering the free flow of traffic in the Gulf of Aden. Iranian victory there would extend a Shia crescent in the south to accompany the one running through Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

  33. Eric Florack says:

    I truly wonder if it’s occurred to any of you that the Iranian regime would have the most to gain out of this killing?

  34. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I’m sure they sent their super secret assassins into the Saudi consulate, where nobody noticed them at all despite the totally different languages, while they killed someone then disposed of the body. Hell, maybe the Saudis invited them …

    This is weak even coming from someone like you. You aren’t even trying any longer.

    23
  35. Tyrell says:

    Also, this good news: American Pastor Brunson finally freed from prison in Turkey, returns to US!
    This was a shameful incident and Turkey should have to pay some big money.
    Head of Interpol missing in China! What is going on with that?

    1
  36. steve says:

    “It wasn’t so long ago that we went into iraq on moral grounds with everybody in the country including the Democrats screaming that we needed to pound the crap out of saddam on those moral grounds.”

    Not everybody, and it was based upon the misinformation provided by the Bush administration. It was not on moral grounds. They had nothing to do with 9/11. It was claimed that they had weapons of mass destruction. However, you do mention the issue here, which is Iran. While we continue to pursue Iran in our role as Israel’s puppet, we have tolerated much, much worse behaviors from Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is really the source of so much of the actual terrorism we have seen. They finance and spread the fundamentalism that leads to jihadis wanting to kill us. It was the Kingdom supporting ISIS and AQ that Iran helped fight. Saudi Arabia also tried to foment rebellion in Iran and Saudi Arabia continues to illegally attack Yemen. We are getting sucked further into this providing Saudi Arabia even more support for this illegal activity.

    “Iran’s European allies are attempting to create a financial lifeline that would provide relief from U.S. sanctions.”

    Most of the world does not belong to the Trump cult, and most of them thought the nuclear deal was a good one. Other than conservatives in the US and Israel, almost everyone else supported the nuclear deal.

    Steve

    16
  37. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Tyrell:

    There’s still three other US citizens being held by Turkey, but Trump hasn’t even mentioned them in public because they’re not white.

    11
  38. Eric Florack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: if you look closely you may notice that’s not what I said. All I suggested was that the Arabian regime has more to gain from the situation.

    We still don’t know what happened.

    That said, the scenario is you’ve jokingly laid it out is more plausible than the Saudis having anything to do with somebody that sneaks into the country kill somebody and sneaks back out.

    @steve:
    The context of that entire response can be found in lesser quantities and smelling better on any stable floor. the information demonstrably did not come from the Bush Administration. That fact has been revealed many hundreds of times over the years, and the leftist still refuse to accept the fact.

    Gee I wonder why.

    Are you really so sure that the situation is as being laid out by the end I Saturday crowd, that you’re willing to let the iranuan regime have its way?

    I’m not

    1
  39. JohnMcC says:

    @dazedandconfused: Well said! I’m perplexed by the literally byzantine nature of this but it is surely one part of a big re-sorting of the area that used to be ‘the Levant’. No one in the media is that I can find is looking for a big picture here although I’ve seen predictions that MSB may not survive the eventual outcome of this affaire.

  40. JohnMcC says:

    @Eric Florack: Here we have a troll of such surpassing stupidity that he cannot keep his story straight over two posts in less than 4 hrs. “…(T)he Iranians have the most to gain” he says at 0840. Our friend HL92 laid waste to that promptly and there was a little cross-talk and our troll is back a 1215 saying “…all I was saying is that the Arabian regime had more to gain…”

    In the actual world there’s something of a difference between ‘Iranian’ and ‘Arabian’.

    No Eric. I’m not talking to you.

    11
  41. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Is that you, Donald Trump Jr?

    6
  42. Teve says:

    Charles P. Pierce

    Verified account

    This is the only thread you need to read today.
    It puts both-siderism into a shallow unmarked grave.

    link

    1
  43. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Speaking of whom, he just doubled down on his insistence that Khashoggi was a terrorist.

    2
  44. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK:
    The whole Trump family is on the Saudi payroll. They, along with the Russians, bailed Trump out when he went broke. Jared, as well. Trump is a commodity, a piece of merchandise for sale to anyone with enough cash. Flattery and cash are all it takes to own a Trump.

    2
  45. dazedandconfused says:

    @JohnMcC:

    He’s a bit quirky but Pat Lang has the best record of accurate analysis of the region that I know of. Big picture? That’s the guy.

    I don’t see a great threat to MSB at the moment. He’s consolidated his rule, near as I can tell. Everybody fears instability in the KSA, and deeply. A cut off of Saudi oil would be hell on wheels, bicycle wheels for a lot of folks. Not a heck of a lot of people are going to help a civil war in the KSA but a heck of a lot of people would land like a ton of bricks on anyone who tries.

    This current deal seems easy enough to grasp though. Insecure and of questionable judgement (t’was he as defense minister who assured the crown that he could fix Yemen in two shakes of a lamb’s tail…and that lamb is getting long in the tooth with Yemen still a mess), he offed a troublesome journalist. He has good reason to guess that Trump wouldn’t do squat about it. To the Saudi eyes Trump is a fool and ALWAYS for sale.

    I can’t get a handle on what the Turk’s thinking is on this though. Erdo is a weird dude.

    1
  46. JohnMcC says:

    @dazedandconfused: Noted. Appreciated.

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Eric Florack: Have you ever noticed how many time people say “we still don’t know what happened,” when there’s only one realistic and plausable conclusion available, but they want to try to evade it by focusing on details that are missing?

    3
  48. Mister Bluster says:

    @Donna Simmons:..call him a terrorist

    The terrorist KKK and the terrorist American Nazis (not exactly pro-western style liberty organizations) support Supreme leader Kim Jong Trump.
    Can we call Donald a terrorist too or should we just stick with sexual pervert?

  49. ThinkThink2 says:

    For the Trump administration, greed and white supremacy are the name of the game. Once the Rethuglicans lose control of Congress in November, it is essential to investigate all of its crimes. Investigations of the Justice and Commerce Departments, of voting rights violators and vote suppressors like John Gore and Wilbur Ross. Gore is also a notorious transphobe. Investigations of the Education Department, which is filled with corporate tools like Robert Eitel (in the pay of the for-profit colleges), and rape apologists (such as Candice Jackson, who said 9/10 of campus sexual assault complaints were false, and Adam Kissel and Hans Bader. Bader is a transphobe who opposed the Obama administration’s protections for transgender people. He thinks schools should be allowed to get away with treating children of color more harshly than white kids, echoing white supremacist talking points that stereotype people of color as criminals).