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Boardman writes: "Addressing the Sunni Summit, a motley host of countries with little freedom, democracy, justice, or other human rights, President Trump might well have wished he could just begin by saying, 'Greetings, my fellow dictators ...'"

U.S. president Donald Trump dances with a sword as he arrives to a welcome ceremony by Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at Al Murabba Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017. (photo: Thomson Reuters)
U.S. president Donald Trump dances with a sword as he arrives to a welcome ceremony by Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at Al Murabba Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017. (photo: Thomson Reuters)

Trump Honors Saudi Family Police State as His Government Ideal

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

23 May 17

Let me now also extend my deep and heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of the distinguished heads of state who made this journey here today. You greatly honor us with your presence, and I send the warmest regards from my country to yours. I know that our time together will bring many blessings to both your people and mine.
President Trump, May 21, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

ddressing the Sunni Summit, a motley host of countries with little freedom, democracy, justice, or other human rights, President Trump might well have wished he could just begin by saying, “Greetings, my fellow dictators.…” The circumstance was not so auspicious for America’s would-be strongman. Unlike the autocrats of Egypt and Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, President Trump’s authority remains shaky, his control of the emerging American police state insecure, his future somewhat uncertain. No wonder he was “exhausted” just two days into his first foreign trip as president, the same day his former national security advisor decided to plead the Fifth – Gen. Michael Flynn, the same guy Trump apparently tried to protect from an FBI investigation, chose to refuse to testify before the Senate rather than risk incriminating himself in criminal activity. It’s enough for a man to send his daughter out to speak for him, which is what the president did, at an event intended to promote the use of social media for counter-terrorism, a police state activity if there ever was one.

The Trump family must envy the Saudi family business, with its own oil-rich, dissent-free nation, where the preposterously rich royal family is above the law, but the justice system sends unlucky gang rape victims to prison, but not before giving them 200 lashes. Saudi treatment of women makes Trump’s treatment of Melania look almost polite. In an international situation where saying anything honest is out of the question for any but the most courageous speakers, our American president instead symbolically bows obsequiously and begins by thanking “the magnificent Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for hosting today’s summit. I am honored to be received by such gracious hosts. I have always heard about the splendor of your country and the kindness of your citizens, but words do not do justice to the grandeur of this remarkable place and the incredible hospitality you have shown us from the moment we arrived.”

The Trump Traveling Carnival’s big achievement during its two-day performance in Riyadh was a further grand distortion of an already tortured reality in a region where the only country considered free is Tunisia (Freedom House ranks all the Middle East countries as not free, except for “partly free” Israel and Turkey, which gives you some idea of the low standard for freedom at work). Standing out among the non-stop carny acts of the Trump road show was the president’s flat-out commitment of the United States to take sides in the centuries old Islamic civil war. This makes little sense for a “Christian” country, but at least is coming in on the side of the Sunnis, who outnumber the Shi’ites roughly nine to one. The president even got some of the Sunni dictatorships to sign a memorandum of agreement to help fight terrorism, which sounds like it might make sense, but makes no sense at all for all kinds of reasons, including: (1) terrorism has been fueled for decades by the Saudis globally promoting Wahhabism, a radically conservative form of Sunni Islam that considers all other Islamic practitioners heathens; (2) most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals, and the Saudis spent untold amounts of money lobbying Washington to keep reports of Saudi involvement secret and to prevent victims from suing the Saudi government; and (3) the Saudis and other Gulf states have played both sides of the terrorist/ISIS wars for years now.

But the US taking the Sunni side in the Islam war makes a kind of perverse sense in that it pits the US against Iran, although there’s no decent reason to single out Iran in a region of blood-drenched bad actors among whom Iran is far from the worst. Saudi Arabia’s human rights record is significantly worse than Iran’s. Iran just elected a new, moderate president with 57% of the vote, a result the minority Trump White House yearns for, even though it seems to have benefitted from more electoral interference than the Iran winner. Another level of senselessness is President Trump’s blindly unexamined condemnation of the multinational agreement that virtually all careful observers agree is keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Instead of a rational approach to a real problem, President Trump use religious incantation to call for a witch hunt, a jihad, a holy war of Arab-American zeal:

A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out.
DRIVE THEM OUT of your places of worship.
DRIVE THEM OUT of your communities.
DRIVE THEM OUT of your holy land, and
DRIVE THEM OUT OF THIS EARTH. [emphasis in original]

Instead of something resembling reality, the US is now basing its policy on the mad view of Saudi King Salman, “saying the Arab world had no problems with that country [Iran] until its 1979 revolution brought a theocratic government that quickly turned to terrorism and regional ambitions.” Translated: as long as the CIA-supported Shah of Iran ran one of the grimmest police states in the world, the Saudis were happy to exchange torturers with the Iranians. President Trump is dragging the US into bed with thugs and dictators from the Philippines to Russia. And the rationale is that it’s all good for fighting terrorism and promoting trade.

Well, the administration did trumpet that $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, claiming in the process that it was even bigger than the $115 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia last September. Perhaps the math was thrown off by the glitter of the Saudi gift of $100 million to an Ivanka Trump pet project for the advancement of women, even though the Saudis suppress their women pretty much as well as anyone, without drawing an audible tut-tut from any Trump. That looks like corruption in plain sight.

The arms deal also looks like continued genocide in less plain sight in Yemen. “Above all, America seeks peace — not war,” President Trump told his Saudi audience. Surely they all knew better. More than two years ago, the US encouraged and supported the Saudi coalition of Gulf states to attack Yemen from the air, to bomb defenseless civilian populations, to use cluster bombs and other anti-personnel weapons, to impose a naval blockade, to create conditions of mass hunger and near-starvation, to turn the country into a virtual prison. This action is an ongoing violation of international law, a war of aggression waged with a nexus of US-sponsored and US-supported war crimes that have been impeachable offenses for the American president every day since March 2015, with no end in sight.

Some in Congress have attempted to block previous weapons sales to the Saudis, and maybe some in Congress will do so again. No one is Congress has yet shown any inclination to confront the reality that we are now on our third consecutive president who is a war criminal.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+60 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-05-23 11:17
I have to say that the sight of Trump and Tillerson doing the head choppers dance with those swords was the most revolting thing I've ever seen. Here were the leaders of the greatest terrorist nations on earth, gloating about a $110 billion weapons deal and prancing around with swords like fairies.

I hope Tulsi Gabbard gets into action with her Stop Funding Terrorists Act. Now it should be Stop Arming Terrorists.
+13 # Kootenay Coyote 2017-05-23 20:53
& Trump couldn't; even dance properly, at that.
+14 # hwmcadoo 2017-05-23 14:05
\What's not to like in Saudi Arabia for a stupid, authoritarian dictator wannabe?
+12 # Skanner 2017-05-23 14:10
This photo contrasted with the one of Melania and the covered-up women on an assembly line makes me think that their society would work better with the women in charge.
+16 # boomerjim 2017-05-23 14:32
And who is the "bad guy" Trump talks to these dictators about: Iran. Not the best place to be; but it does have free elections,where the "moderate" president was re-elected, apparently because of popularity, not a fixed election. (And don't hit me about the problems with the Iranian theocracy -- I work with an Irani who does not want to go back to Iran.)
+13 # futhark 2017-05-23 15:09
President Trump and his minions seem to have little respect for the democratic process of choosing political leadership, unless it is to confirm support for himself or one of his ilk. This is the "leadership principle" or, in German, der Führerprinzip. It is a justification for the exercise of power based on the ability or fortune of the power-holder to attain and maintain that status, usually by any available means. It explains why a person of humble origins, like Adolf Hitler, could become master of a cultured and sophisticated nation. It is the logical consequence of ethics-free Social Darwinism.

In the movie "The Postman" (1997), the warlord General Bethlehem (Will Patton) argues that feudalism is the natural form of government for humans. He enumerates the laws of his regime as follows:

"Law one. You will obey orders without question.

Law two: Punishment shall be swift.

Law three: Mercy is for the weak.

Four: Terror will defeat reason.

Five: Your allegiance is to the clan.

Six: Justice can be dictated.

Seven: Any clansman may challenge for leadership of the clan.

Law eight: There is only one penalty. Death."

The family of Saud has achieved and maintained control over most of the Arabian peninsula by a ruthless campaign of violence and intimidation and seek to extend their domination of the entire region by the same means. President Trump seems to consider this to be commendable, not deplorable.
+6 # AshamedAmerican 2017-05-23 15:12
Mr. Boardman states that "we are now on our third consecutive president who is a war criminal". Bill Clinton wasn't a war criminal? Or he didn't commit war crimes in this particular country?
+3 # EternalTruth 2017-05-24 01:41
Yeah, by my count we've got at least six in a row. But apparently war crimes are only committed by leaders of nations lacking the military might to prohibit prosecution.
+2 # ericlipps 2017-05-25 04:52
I might ask, who was the last U.S. president who, in the view of posters here, DIDN'T commit any war crimes? Have there been any?
+2 # rogerhgreen 2017-05-25 08:51
Jimmy Carter's heart was in the right place, even if he unintentionally set a path to American hegemony. Read Andrew Bacevich's 2016 "America's War for the Greater Middle East".
0 # EternalTruth 2017-05-26 23:57
I stopped the count at Jimmy Carter, mainly because I love him and because I couldn't come up with any specific crimes off the top of my head to attribute to him. I know the US was engaged in some awful behavior in central and South America during his tenure, among other places, but lacking specific memories, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and hope that these were rogue CIA/Deep-State activities which he was unable to control. But you're probably right, and the count is probably a lot higher than 6.
+11 # Femihumanist 2017-05-23 16:06
Everything about that speech makes me think that we don't need comedians to mimic Trump. Just put him speaking on the comedy shows and you don't have to pay the comedians.

My favorites were Trump talking about terrorists and terrorism seemed like something out of the Onion or Borowitz but his trying to lead the listeners into a chant where no-one breathes without permission was a real doozy.
+1 # Navrongo80 2017-05-26 15:49
Slamming Trump for his words and deeds is lost it's luster for me. It is way too easy. It has become a sad public duty.

Trump seems intent on making sure my barrel is full of fish.
+7 # oakes721 2017-05-23 20:11
Building a Better Box-Cutter
Dunce cap for a crown, a wannabe despot consorts with tyrants who were literally laughing in his face while others appeared to be thoroughly disgusted by this Judas.
Hear the Trump-Pense trumpeting ~ to herald the coming of THE END.
+6 # elkingo 2017-05-23 21:34
China, Russia, Saudi Arabia. the good 'ol USA,
- the great global consolidation of evil.Oil, guns, egregious treatment of the bulk of the citizenry. Beginning to look like Orwell's mega-state - a few rulers at the top, robot regimentation for the masses, and the elimination of any dissent by death.
+7 # EternalTruth 2017-05-24 10:35
I read '1984' every few years, and each time it makes me more frightened and depressed by the the obvious parallels to our current world.

The entire tRump administration has been so ridiculous that I can't help but wonder if the whole thing isn't just a distraction to keep us preoccupied while whoever is actually running things laugh and do as they please. It makes me think Dr. Leary had the right idea (turn on, tune in, and drop the fuck out).
+5 # elkingo 2017-05-23 21:38
Also, Trump's sword-dance with the fanatical dictators? A surreal image as menacing as the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square ending the war was joyous. A whacko iconic image for our time - and "our time" may not last too long, with control of the world in the hands of these assholes. ALL OF THEM - THE GLOBE AROUND!
+9 # chapdrum 2017-05-23 22:27
Exactly - the Saudis and Putin are his ideal governments. The longer he stays in office...
+7 # reiverpacific 2017-05-24 10:13
I can only recall with a certain amount of pride, the time that I was called by a tech headhunter to be interviewed by the Saudi minister of finance and his cabal in London; two days all-expenses-pa id trip to the capital, so what's not to enjoy? for a job as a principal architect and teacher of young Saudi architects in Riyadh. They wanted a British-educate d and qualified architect with US experience, seemingly perfect for me.
I kept asking searching questions about recreational facilities for expats and what my (then) wife was supposed to do with herself, to which the reply was -in all cases- "We are a very conservative nation sir".
After talk of salary -a ridiculously high figure and I could have gotten anything I wanted if I'd kept pushing- I left telling them I'd consider it but had no intentions. I had just done three years in more mellow Muslim Indonesia and I was taking it easy -didn't work for 1.5 years after that and was relaxing in my home town allowing my Scottish family get to know their new Java-born granddaughter and in no hurry to go back to work, especially in a plutocratic, vicious, women-subjugati ng, feudal dictatorship.
The headhunter kept pursuing me until I told her finally that there wasn't enough money to get me out to that dreadful outpost, in which the principal entertainment was catching the weekly Sunday beheadings or had forced amputations in "Chop-Chop Square" (I met a nurse who's job was to tray the amputees, who quit after two months).
+6 # Observer 47 2017-05-24 14:28
Truly, the inmates are running the asylum.
+3 # Femihumanist 2017-05-24 15:27
Quoting Observer 47:
Truly, the inmates are running the asylum.

Who is that insulting?

If you haven't seen it, see "King of Hearts". The inmates were the only rational people in the asylum.
+1 # DongiC 2017-05-25 17:03
And, one of them, was a hero who defused a giant bomb. Wonderful movie for sure.
+2 # MikeAF48 2017-05-25 15:35
The fling White House.

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