Trump Betrays Basic Values
President Donald Trump often has said that his goal is to make the United States not just energy-independent but energy-dominant, and market forces assisted by advanced technology have made the United States the world’s largest energy producer.
Yet Trump does not seem to recognize what that means relative to the autocratic, corrupt and likely murderous regime in Saudi Arabia.
For many years many administrations have tolerated and supported the medieval desert monarchy because the United States had no choice but to maintain access to Saudi oil.
Now, the facts on the ground are that Saudi Arabia needs the United States far more than the United States needs Saudi Arabia. The kingdom’s security structure and its ability to take on its nemesis, Iran, are rooted in U.S. support.
But Trump, the supposed deal-maker, doesn’t seem to grasp that he can use that leverage to force the Saudi monarchy, particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to take responsibility for the Oct. 2 kidnapping, torture and execution of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
U.S. and Turkish intelligence agencies have left little doubt that the crown prince is complicit in the murder of a U.S. resident who was working as a journalist for a major U.S. newspaper, The Washington Post. Yet Trump has defied his own intelligence experts and given the prince a free pass on murder, declaring that the prince has professed his innocence.
A free press is a bedrock of America’s founding principles, and the United States is a global bulwark of human rights. Trump’s abandonment of those principles is appalling, and it must be answered by Congress.