Is this a NEW Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia pledges help fight Islamic extremism! Yay! Donald Trump announces $400 billion investment in Saudi Arabia and US! Yay!
These are the big sell lines coming out of the State Department and the White House as the President makes his first big overseas tour.
First, let me give the devil his due.
The stiff teleprompter reading Trump delivered in Riyadh today, while not destined to go down in oratory history was far more palatable than the pathetic apology tour his predecessor took in 2009. The phrases you'll hear most quoted will be the "drive them out" sequences. Referring to religious, nut bag terrorists, Trump repeatedly admonished the Muslim world to drive the scum out of their mosques, towns and nations.
As good as that sounded, I'm going to take a wait-and-see attitude. The pre-departure announcement by the Saudi "royalty"* that they would help end Islamic terrorism must be taken, by a rational observer, with a pound of salt. Will the Saudi "royalty" shut down the Wahhabi madrasas from whence most Islamic lunacy springs (outside of Iran anyway)? I tend to doubt it. Saudi "royalty" has maintained it's hold on power by allowing these little hate factories crank out their vile product. The thinking being to let the unwashed maintain their religious hate orgies, thereby keeping focus on external enemies. The spillage of actual terrorists into the world is an acceptable price.
The day Saudi "royalty" allows the gullible public to take their eye off the "death to Israel" ball is the day they start to loose their hold on power. While one can be happy to see any American president project a strong argument against Islamic terror, until religion has been driven from the center of the public square, in the stronger Islamic states like Saudi Arabia, we will remain without serious help in eradicating the more violent forms of the superstition.
$400 Billion, Huh?
This investment announcement is another wait-and-see proposition.
Did Trump simply tout the norm as a personal triumph in this proclamation? I'm taken back to the heady days of the Caterpillar deal during the transition. Clearly, there had been a deal in the works for some time. The parties were in the final dance to iron out the details when in stomps Trump. By shining light on the deal and giving it a "presidential" stature, he accelerated the inevitable then claimed credit for the whole deal. Who would deny him that without looking like a poor sport who had just been played by Donald Trump?
Countless billions of purchase and investment dollars wash back and forth across the oceans every day, with no consideration of nation or religion. These are private dollars, corporate dollars and government dollars. As was the case with Caterpillar**, did Trump look at what is known to be occurring and take the credit for it? Or is this a new development? We'll look in on that in a month or two.
Side Note - Comey-gate
Having had plenty of time to digest the story behind the Comey firing, my position remains the same. Rod Rosenstein's memo was perfectly legitimate. I said well before last June that Comey was a stooge and his firing amounts to absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.
We'd already be nearing this same conclusion nationally if "the Donald" (tactical genius) could have refrained from his sophomoric tweeting and off-the-cuff blabbering. He undercuts his staff every time he speaks without a prompter or gets goaded into tweeting. He is polling lowest of any president at this point in his term because every day he makes it impossible for even political allies to get behind him.
If this does not change, it will be "the Donald" who will cost the Republicans their majority in a year and a half.
In fairness, it must be said the Ryan and McConnell will try their damnedest to bring about the same result. Not that things will be all that different. The Dems have been running the GOP's congress since Ryan and McConnell took over.
* Royalty and being anointed by a god to rule is, in the modern world, a silly notion. The idea of a Saudi "royal" family attempting to evoke images of a long-surviving sacred tradition is sillier still. This is a corrupt band of siblings and cousins, all of whom would slit the others throat if they had the power to do so. Established with British blessing after WWI, these people lead Saudi Arabia much the same way Putin rules Russia. The Saudis just play more at the religious scam to stay in power.
** Boeing - there was no line entry anywhere in Boeing's contract with the government that said "Air Force One: $4 billion.