Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Religious Freedom, Negotiable

This can't end well.

Politico reports

Aides to President Donald Trump are drafting plans to condition U.S. aid to other countries on how well they treat their religious minorities, two White House officials said.

The proposal is expected to cover U.S. humanitarian assistance, and could also be broadened to include American military aid to other countries. If the proposal becomes reality, it could have a major effect on U.S. assistance in a range of places, from Iraq to Vietnam. Its mere consideration shows how much the White House prioritizes religious freedom, an emphasis critics say is really about galvanizing Trump’s evangelical Christian base.

But experts on U.S. aid also warn that picking and choosing which countries to punish could be a very difficult task, not least because several countries that are partners or allies of the United States have terrible religious freedom records.

Well, like maybe Saudi Arabia, where the Trump Administration sent 2800 additional soldiers last month to join the Patriot air defense battery and radars sent to Saudi Arabia in September. 

Riyadh has been cited by the State Department as one of the world's "worst violators" of religious freedom. But not to worry because

One strong likelihood is that any executive order will include a clause that gives the president or his designee the ability to exclude a country from aid restrictions on grounds that it is in the U.S. national security interest.

Nations which practice religious discrimination, especially if against Christians, may in fact be denied aid- except, of course, if they welcome Trump family business or agree to investigate rivals of the President.

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