David A. Andelman, visiting scholar at the Center on National Security at Fordham Law, wrote an op-ed for CNN about how President Trump’s positioning regarding the recent disappearance of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi may impact U.S. foreign relations.
Donald Trump may be positioning himself, and by extension the American people, yet again, on the wrong side of another profound moral divide — defending an utterly criminal regime in the Middle East to which he plighted his troth from the earliest days of his presidency — the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
When an urgent issue presented itself in 2017, Trump chose the wrong side of argument over the events in Charlottesville. This time, the subject of his sympathies, it seems, is not neo-Nazis in America, but the regime of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
In the past 24 hours, reports have emerged that a government hit squad, said to have been dispatched directly by bin Salman, first in line to the Saudi throne, seized, interrogated, tortured, then killed and, using a bone saw, dismembered the body of a journalist. Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was one of the regime’s leading critics.
A central question now is just how far Trump may be prepared to go in defense of the kind of rabid values the Saudis now seem to have embraced. But even more important for American interests, at home and abroad, are the potential consequences.