Our Friends—For Purchase

By

Leonard Zwelling

Money can’t buy you happiness, it is said, but it can buy you friends. It is buying the Saudis friends in the White House including the crown prince of Trumpdom, Jared Kushner.

At this point, there is little doubt that a Saudi Arabian hit squad, consisting at least in part of members of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salaam’s inner circle, was sent to Istanbul to assassinate Jamal Khashoggi and probably dismembered his body and carted it back to Saudi Arabia on two private jets. The reasons for the hit are not yet clear other than the fact that Khashoggi was not a fan of MBS and his writing was making its way to the West via The Washington Post. But why risk the publicity of killing this reporter in such a blatant fashion? Oh, that’s right, there will be no consequences.

There are currently three major countries in the Middle East vying for dominance—Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran. They are all Muslim nations, but that does not mean they have any common ground on which to stand. Each believes that it holds the key to the future of Islam and to the geopolitics in the region.

One of them is a “great friend” to the U. S. That would be Saudi Arabia. Why is this despotic state that treats women like third-class citizens our friend? Because we need their oil and they buy our military hardware. President Trump is worried that if we don’t sell them the planes and guns, China will. So what? Let ‘em. There is nothing good coming out of Saudi Arabia, the home of the extreme Wahhabi sect of Islam and the home country of 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers. Why are we still even dealing with them? Yet Mr. Trump, aka Orange Crush, made the Kingdom his first foreign stop after assuming office. And I do mean assuming.

Turkey is also supposedly an ally, but that country too is oppressive. It imprisoned an American priest and still wants the U. S. to extradite a Muslim cleric so that President Erdogan can lock him up or kill him. There is still a lot of doubt that the coup of a few years back wasn’t staged so as to allow the crack down by Erdogan on his political opposition, many of whom were thrown in jail.

Turkey is not a happy country. It’s sort of free, but sort of not and surely not the country the U. S. can count on to bring stability to an unstable region of the world.

As for Iran, forget about it. There will be no peace with the clerics running that show since 1979. That’s right. It’s been almost 40 years since signs went up in offices around the U. S. with a picture of Khomeni asking for darts to be thrown saying “put a hole a in the ayatollah.”

America has one reliable ally in the region. That would be Israel. Not surprisingly, Israel is the only true democracy in the region and the only place where freedom actually rings and hit squads aren’t a routine part of the scenery.

Saudi Arabia has bought us as friends with their oil and the petrol dollars to buy weapons. Turkey has not and Iran is a lost cause.

Perhaps a better strategic maneuver for the U. S. would be to solidify its alliances with really free states like those in Europe and the rest of Asia and start calling the other states what they are—horrible dictatorships with oppressed populations.

Oh, that’s right. It’s about the money.

There is nothing with this president that is not transactional. There is always a deal to be made—for oil, for guns, for the American soul.

Leonard Zwelling