22 October 2018   Leave a comment

The stories surrounding the death of Jamal Khashoggi continue to swirl, but none of them coalesces into a credible one that exonerates the complicity of the Saudi government.  The willingness of the US Administration to tolerate the dissembling of the Saudi government is disheartening.  It appears as if nothing will change despite the horrific crime against Khashoggi and the incredible assault on the free press.   For example, US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin met with Crown Prince Salman in Saudi Arabia, despite the earlier announcement that Mr. Mnuchin would not attend the investment conference starting tomorrow.  There was no announcement of that meeting by the US, but the Saudi government publish a photograph of the meeting.  US President Trump continued to stress the need to not jeopardize what he calls the $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, but the Washington Post has an excellent article on the  actual terms of the alleged agreement which are considerably less significant.

“It’s $110 billion. I believe it’s the largest order ever made. It’s 450,000 jobs. It’s the best equipment in the world.”

— President Trump, in remarks to reporters, Oct. 13, 2018

“$110 billion in purchasing. It’s 500,000 jobs, American jobs. Everything’s made here.”

— Trump, in an interview with Trish Regan of Fox Business News, Oct. 16

“Who are we hurting? It’s 500,000 jobs. It’ll be ultimately $110 billion. It’s the biggest order in the history of our country from an outside military.”

— Trump, in an interview with Stuart Varney of Fox Business News, Oct. 17

“I would prefer that we don’t use, as retribution, canceling $110 billion worth of work, which means 600,000 jobs.

— Trump, during a defense roundtable at Luke Air Force Base, Oct. 19

“So now if you’re talking about — that was $110 billion — you know, you’re talking about over a million jobs. You know, I’d rather keep the million jobs, and I’d rather find another solution.”

— Trump, in additional remarks to reporters after the roundtable, Oct. 19

Canada and Germany  have announced that they are going to freeze their pending arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

Secretary Mnuchin with Saudi Crown Prince Salman, 22 October 2018

 

On this day in 1962, US President John F. Kennedy went on national television to accuse the Soviet Union (now Russia) of placing intermediate range nuclear missiles in Cuba, thus provoking the most serious crisis of the Cold War, The Cuban Missile Crisis.  It is a crisis that has been analyzed to an incredible degree and remains one of the most complicated case studies in all of world politics.  Today, the US made a strong threat to withdraw from one of the most important arms control agreements ever signed, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed by US President Reagan and Soviet Prime Minister Gorbachev.   There is considerable debate over whether both the US and Russia have violated the treaty, but a far more productive approach would have been a decision by the US to put forward an alternative treaty, covering China’s intermediate range missiles as well, up for negotiation.  Unilateralism in breaking a treaty very rarely leads to a productive outcome.

Posted October 22, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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