Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Crooked Baby

In a battle- rather, a minor skirmish among apparent allies- there are slightly competing explanations for President Trump's cave-in to the Saudis over the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi:

I think we must add the adjective "Saudi-enriched" https://t.co/hgFMNwqXMZ

— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) October 14, 2018

The law of parsimony, or at least Will Bunch, suggests that Abramson is correct. Bunch links us to an article he wrote five months ago in which he explained

Trump stunned his own foreign policy team— including then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis — when he tweeted that Qatar is a sponsor of terrorism and seemingly endorsed an economic and political blockage of the tiny, oil-rich nation organized and led by two powerful neighbors, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, or UAE.

A few months later, people who suspect the worst about Trump and his minions learned a possible motive that was almost too cynical to comprehend. Not long before Team Trump switched gears on Qatar, key officials from the emirate had met with Charles Kushner — father of Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared, who's in charge of Trump's Middle East portfolio — to discuss a massive Qatar-funded bailout of 666 Fifth Ave., the debt-laden Manhattan skyscraper that was threatening to sink the Kushner family real estate empire. But the Qataris rejected the deal — just weeks before the policy about-face. Whatever actually happened, the appearance was simply awful.

It also seems not to have been the full story. This weekend, the New York Times published a stunning report about a plan floated by a longtime emissary for the Saudis and the UAE in early August 2016, when Trump had just grabbed the GOP nomination but faced an uphill campaign against Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump Jr., aide Stephen Miller and Erik Prince, founder of the notorious mercenary outfit once know as Blackwater, listened intently as the emissary offered Team Trump millions of dollars in assistance, including a covert social-media campaign, to help Trump win that would be run by a former Israeli spy who specializes in psychological warfare, or psywar.

And then there is this:
Well, o.k. However, in the interview conducted on Thursday (broadcast on Sunday) by CBS' Lesley Stahl, the President was asked why he says he "fell in love" with Kim Jong-un, Trump replied. "Sure. I know all these things. I mean- I'm not a baby."

Asked what his "biggest surprise" has been as president, Trump responded. "Okay. So I always used to say the toughest people are Manhattan real estate guys and blah, blah. Now I say they're babies."  To a follow-up question, he remarked "They're babies, the political people."Asked whether like his wife he distrusts some people in the White House, Trump replied "I think I'm guarded anyway. But I'm not saying I trust everybody in the White House. I'm not a baby. It's a tough business."

I'm not a baby... Now i say they're babies.... They're babies, the political people.... I'm not a baby.

If Donald J. Trump is not a baby, he is something very close.  Though holding few if any cards in any confrontation, Riyadh threatened to retaliate against the USA if it responds to Khashoggi's murder.  The President, going beyond the Kingdom's suggestion that it may have been a kidnapping attempt that got out of hand, then suggested the possibility of "rogue killers."

A bully, Trump is a guy who is easily rolled. And that makes it difficult, despite the considerable evidence that Donald Trump is selling out to the Saudis for his family's financial gain, to discount an additional motivation. He is a baby who is letting pipsqueaks threaten the USA. This is not only an extremely greedy individual, but one who asserted "you're fired" enough that it was long before the realization sank in that the baby himself very easily intimidated.

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