Trump vs Obama: Who could sell more arms to Saudi Arabia?

American Herald Tribune | Kate Harveston: The Trump administration’s betrayal of every quote-unquote American Value is now complete. It wasn’t enough that the working poor, women, legal and illegal immigrants, and non-Christians were getting the jackboot — now he and his band of thieves and thugs are working to destroy what’s left of America’s integrity and reputation abroad. And they’re doing it by cozying up to one of the worst governments in the world, Saudi Arabia, and selling it weapons.

An Artless Deal

Trump is a dealmaker — so how’s this “deal” going down, exactly? Here’s the scoop.

The administration’s arms sale to Saudi Arabia could weigh in at a staggering $350 billion over the next 10 years. That’s a nearly unimaginable amount of money and constitutes the biggest arms sale in the history of the United States.

We all know Mr. Trump practically salivates over the sight of the hard steel of a military battleship, so the fact that he’s neck-deep in an arms deal with tons of money on the table is not really a surprise. And it would be bad enough if he were merely acting like a child in an unexplored candy shop, but it gets worse. The administration claims this is the first of several steps toward Trump’s vision of an “Arab NATO.” In this case, it’s not necessarily the vision that’s a problem — it’s the amazingly poor execution.

Building an Arab NATO

If you recall, Mr. Trump is famous for calling the real NATO “obsolete” on the campaign trail and after, but quickly changed his tune after getting sworn in. But now he wants to build an Arab version? Claiming NATO is obsolete and then turning around and trying to build another one isn’t Trump “evolving” on an issue of critical importance — it confirms yet again his barely elementary-level understanding of ethics.

He railed against NATO because he and people like him regard governments and other humanist institutions as an impediment, not a moral imperative or a practical tool, and because he knew — even admitted! — it didn’t matter what he said aloud, because his supporters take his word for everything anyway.

But if Trump really didn’t understand what NATO was for and why it’s important, what does that say about him? How could a 70-plus-year-old man reach adulthood without learning that cooperation, not confrontation, is the way progress and peace are made? Mr. Trump is too stupid to be embarrassed on his own behalf, so the rest of America must bear the embarrassment for him.

The Hurdles to a Middle East Deal

Suppose Trump has genuinely been convinced by those close to him that NATO is generally a good thing. Suppose he has learned that lesson. An “Arab NATO” doesn’t sound like a terrible idea — in fact, a multinational stabilizing force is something the developed world has been trying to make work for a long time now.

The problem is, we’ve been shooting ourselves in the foot by picking the wrong fights and befriending the wrong people for so long that stabilization — to say nothing of lasting peace — now seems further away than it ever has.

Trump was elected as a dealmaker — so how’s he gonna pull this off? Could anybody thread the needle of Middle East peace? Who knows. We have no idea what that would even look like, because nobody’s made more than a halfhearted attempt. But we do know how you don’t achieve it.

By selling weapons to the Middle Eastern country with a very long and appalling record of human rights violations. This would be a horrific thing to do under literally any circumstances, but it’s particularly outrageous at this dangerously unpredictable moment in global history. Consider:

  • It would be bad enough if the United States was merely exporting weapons of mass destruction.
  • It would be bad enough if the United States was merely exporting weapons of mass destruction to one of the worst countries ever when it comes to human rights.
  • It would be bad enough if the United States was merely exporting weapons of mass destruction to one of the worst countries ever when it comes to human rights, which then is expected to hand them to terrorist groups.

Trump on Saudi Arabia: Hypocritical at Best

Are you getting it? This is an ethical foul-up of almost incomprehensible proportions. And we haven’t even gotten to the fact that Saudi Arabia is still considered by some to be a primary conspirator in the 9/11 attacks, a fact Trump himself Trumpeted about as recently as February 2016. Yeah. America’s president believes Saudi Arabia knocked down the World Trade Center, so he’s going there and selling the country more weapons than we’ve ever sold to anybody else.

Tragically, Democrats are not off the hook.

Why Are We Still Doing Deals With the Saudis?

What did you expect — that only one of our major political parties has a monopoly on bad judgment? During the presidency of Barack Obama, the U.S. sold $60 billion in weapons of mass destruction, defined by yours truly as anything more powerful than a handgun, to … Saudi Arabia. It was the largest arms deal since World War II. But Democrats don’t like to talk about that, do they?

Now, Republicans are proving they’re even slower learners than Democrats by doing even worse versions of all this stupidity.

Does anything more really need to be said? Donald Trump is either breathtakingly stupid, or he’s actively trying to end the world. And while either of those two possibilities is terrifying on its own, the president also happens to be firmly surrounded by some of Washington’s most destructively greedy people.

More greedy and myopic, potentially, even than Mr. Trump himself, who only recently got a glimpse behind the curtain of Washington politics. The establishment types he’s surrounded himself with have been at this a long time — and they still haven’t learned their lessons. Trump is clearly a child, but what the hell is their excuse?

In closing, remember also that in recent days the Trump administration allowed a murderous dictator’s thugs to assault American citizens on American soil. For all of these reasons and many others, nobody should find it surprising that the word “treasonous” is being whispered in Washington and throughout the country.