Is the Saudi Arms Deal Transactional?

So this presidency is transactional apparently. All about business and, it goes almost without saying, making deals. That way we can frame the latest arms deal with the Saudi’s as a trade-off between jobs created and products sold on the part of America, and promises to fight islamic (or radical, which seems to be the suddenly acceptable term for the White House) terrorism on the part of Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern states.

So having framed the treaty as an example of Trump's transactional presidency, the NYT can focus on Jared Kushner's role in putting together this deal, complete with details about a phone call to Lockheed Martin CEO Maryllin Hewson. All in gushy approving detail about how Saudi royal jaws went slack when Kushner dialed her up to ask her for a discount, back a few weeks ago.

Really?

You'd think that's exactly what Saudi royalty would expect the son-in-law of and chief advisor to the president to do. Make calls and get deals done. But then how could we have tales of slackened jaws of drooling admiration for the tall, elegant New Yorker (who hails from New Jersey) in the pages of the New York Times?

But this kind of detail is fine for the New York Times along with stories about former Obama officials insisting on how this represents the continuity of American foreign policy with respect to Saudi Arabia.

Ok. And the Obama administration's Iran deal would fit into this NYT narrative of continuity ... exactly how?

At some point we will find out more about any further concessions or promises Trump's administration may have possibly extracted from the Saudi's. Maybe that will help mitigate worries about the inherent risks of sending over $100 billion worth of armaments to a kingdom whose citizens likely helped finance the 9/11 attacks. Maybe not the royal family, but certainly there was Saudi money involved. And risks of some kind of blowback remain.

This is all a little too convenient a spin. Because the part of this deal that is more about a major policy shift is really the lynchpin. A turn away from trying to accommodate Shiite Iran and it's destabilizing influence in the Middle East, and towards more traditional allies.

Like Sunni Saudi Arabia and Israel.

That's some pair of allies, but both these countries have apparently been making covert approaches towards each other that may some day result in, perhaps not diplomatic relations, but at least the first steps towards that goal. This is a major policy shift on the part of Trump's White House and State Department. A return to what were more established lines of contact before Obama's presidency. Again, every single Middle East peace deal in the past has been shredded by the reality of the region, but perhaps uniting America, Israel, and a majority of Muslim nations under the banner of fighting terrorism will provide yet another stab at that shimmering mirage. They'll need all the luck they can get, however, to make this deal last. Much less to have it positively impact any new Israel Palestine accord.

Posted by Keeley at May 23, 2017 5:19 PM
Comments
Comment #416632

An article about the transactional nature of the Saudi arms deal, and not one mention of the $100 million donation the Saudi’s gave to Ivanka’s charity that same week? Really?

Iran is not the destabilizing force in the region, not even close. They support Hezbollah, the Iraqi government, and the Assad regime. Iran quietly cooperates with the US to fight ISIS.

The destabilizing forces are ISIS and the various versions of Al Qaida, including the Al Nusra front. The terrorist attacks against the west have consistently come from Sunnis affiliated with ISIS and Al Qaida. In Afghanistan, we are fighting Sunnis, not Shia.

And by the way, the US did more to destabilize the region with its invasion of Iraq than anyone. We’ll be paying for that blunder for a generation.

Posted by: phx8 at May 23, 2017 6:58 PM
Comment #416633

So glad that phx8 knows about “Ivanka’s charity”.

Please give us the web address and full name so we can donate.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 23, 2017 7:55 PM
Comment #416636

And what is even stupider, Iran just held an election and voted overwhelmingly for a relatively moderate leader. The hard liners took a beating. The moderate extended an olive branch to Trump. He turned it down flat.

RF,
The World Bank Women Entrepeneurs Fund. In April, Ivanka promised she would not solicit for the fund.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen anything come together so quickly, and I really have to say Ivanka’s leadership has been tremendous.”
President Jim Yong Kim

The donation was made during the same week her husband was negotiating an arms deal with the Saudis.

Posted by: phx8 at May 23, 2017 9:06 PM
Comment #416657

Thanks phx8. So it’s not “Ivanka’s charity” as you first wrote.

Just so you know phx8, “A World Bank administration official previously told The Associated Press that Trump wouldn’t have a formal authority role in the fund or in soliciting donations but would be a “strong advocate.”

“Ms. Trump and Chancellor Merkel have demonstrated on this important issue.”

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/saudi-arabia-uae-pledge-100m-womens-fund-ivanka/story?id=47560100

Is advocacy to provide capital for small and medium sized women entrepreneurs OK with the Left? Is Chancellor Merkel’s involvement also suspect?


Posted by: Royal Flush at May 24, 2017 2:53 PM
Comment #416659

Classified Documents Show Obama Spied on Americans for Years

Neema Singh Guliani, the ACLU’s legislative counsel in Washington, said “I think what this emphasizes is the shocking lack of oversight of these programs.”

Read more: http://thepoliticalinsider.com/classified-documents-obama-spying-years/#ixzz4i1arUqU3

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 24, 2017 3:07 PM
Comment #416660

Classified Documents Show Obama Spied on Americans for Years

Neema Singh Guliani, the ACLU’s legislative counsel in Washington, said “I think what this emphasizes is the shocking lack of oversight of these programs.”

Read more: http://thepoliticalinsider.com/classified-documents-obama-spying-years/#ixzz4i1arUqU3

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 24, 2017 3:11 PM
Comment #416661

Classified Documents Show Obama Spied on Americans for Years

Neema Singh Guliani, the ACLU’s legislative counsel in Washington, said “I think what this emphasizes is the shocking lack of oversight of these programs.”

Read more: http://thepoliticalinsider.com/classified-documents-obama-spying-years/#ixzz4i1arUqU3

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 24, 2017 3:11 PM
Comment #416662

Neema Singh Guliani, the ACLU’s legislative counsel in Washington, said “I think what this emphasizes is the shocking lack of oversight of these programs.”

Read more: http://thepoliticalinsider.com/classified-documents-obama-spying-years/#ixzz4i1b549NR

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 24, 2017 3:15 PM
Comment #417291

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