Usually When We Get Hired To Do A Job, The Person Who Pays Us Is Our Boss…
So is Trump bragging that he’s getting Saudi Arabia to foot the bill for U.S. troops he’s sending over there really a good thing?
The Saudis are paying the bill! Whoo-hoo! Wait a sec. Doesn’t that make them Trump’s boss? Not just nominally? And what happens if the U.S. refuses to do the Saudis’ bidding at some point? Do they borrow another page out of the Trump playbook and stiff the U.S. for what they owe? Or does the U.S. military suck it up and act as a purely mercenary force with Trump as Commander-in-Chief?
There are just so many reasons this arrangement that Trump’s so proud of, is a crappy idea.
We understand why Trump likes it: it’s part of his new world order. Though at the same time, it’s incredibly hypocritical. Because at the same time as Trump is committing 1,800 U.S. soldiers to Saudi Arabia (whoever is paying for it), he’s also pulling the few U.S. troops left, out of Syria. BTW, he’s sending almost double the number of troops to Saudi Arabia that he’s pulling out of Syria.
And the reasons he’s using to justify that action, is pretty much exactly the opposite of how he’s justifying being in Saudi Arabia.
Trump Tweets “Endless Wars!”, but what we’ve seen in the past few days demonstrates the small U.S. presence remaining in Syria was actually preventing a war, since as soon as the U.S. left, Turkey launched a major offensive, which was no way not planned. Trump’s published a note, threatening Turkey with very, very bad economic things; pretending to be shocked and surprised. He shouldn’t be.
As the New York Times aptly puts it:
“Having essentially greenlighted the Turkish incursion a week ago, then threatening ruin to Turkey’s economy, on Monday Mr. Trump announced sanctions on Turkey, raising tariffs on steel and suspending negotiations on a $100 billion trade deal with Ankara.”
We still think Turkey’s going to get its U.S. made F-35 fighter jets, even though technically those deliveries are suspended right now. Just a hunch on our part, but we think supported by the fact that Trump makes no mention of those jets in his threatening note.
Meanwhile, putting a larger number of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia increases the chances they’ll be involved in armed conflict there, because Iran’s been making a habit of taunting and doing damage to its adversaries in the region, principal among them being Saudi Arabia. And it’s been effective. Effective enough to get Trump to send troops over.
(Also, when Trump says someone agreed to do something, often it means just some kind of nebulous promise. So we’re hoping he holds up a check at some point signed by the Crown Prince, and what the President’s talking about isn’t just some Saudi pledge or something to at some point buy more U.S. made arms.)
And anyway, if Trump is using as an excuse that Syria is “7,000 miles away!”, and the U.S. needs to singularly focus on “our Southern Border which abuts and is part of the United States of America”, you know who else is 7,000 miles away? Saudi Arabia.
If “Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte”, why isn’t the same true with protecting Saudi Arabia from Iran? Because they’ve got the cash to pay? Because they sit on a huge amount of oil and it’s real important to Trump to make sure Americans don’t pay too much for gas?
What happens if Saudi Arabia wants to do something the U.S. doesn’t agree with? Or the U.S. military wants to do something the Saudis don’t like? (There’s a lot that could potentially fall into these categories: involving Yemen, involving Israel, involving Russia, involving Saudi Arabia internally).
We totally get that Trump wants NATO member countries to pay proportionally to their GDP to keep that organization operating. Having Saudi Arabia pay for the U.S. to act as bodyguards against Iran is a totally different thing. Especially when the President’s arguing at the same time that it was completely and utterly wrong for the U.S. to help the Kurds guard against annihilation by Turkey.