Sometimes a particular event, the fate of a particular individual, becomes a symbol of a global, historical trend. The reported murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Post contributor, in a consulate in Istanbul is one of those moments. It symbolizes the departure of the United States as a restraining force against evil actors in the world. Saudi Arabia is a small nation that cannot defend itself without the support of the United States, and therefore no Saudi leader would have made such a brazen move without confidence that Washington, once the leader of the liberal world order, would do nothing.
There have been many other similar warning signs: China’s arrest of the head of Interpol; the Burmese military’s campaign of genocide against the Rohingya; the systematic and deliberate slaughter of civilians in Syria, including by outlawed chemical weapons; the Russian invasion of Ukraine and seizure of Crimea. Nor is the rise of right-wing nationalist forces in Europe and elsewhere unrelated to the loss of strength and vitality among the democratic nations. Doubts about America have been reverberating across the globe for more than a decade, and others have been responding accordingly. When Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban spoke out to celebrate the “illiberal state” a few years ago, he claimed he was only responding to new realities: “the great redistribution of global financial, economic, commercial, political and military power that became obvious in 2008.”
So welcome to the breakdown of the liberal world order the United States once upheld. You’re seeing just the beginning. [Continue reading…]
Trump has done little to suggest that evidence of Saudi misbehavior would compel him to disrupt his close relationship with the kingdom. In multiple interviews since Khashoggi’s disappearance, he has stressed the importance of preserving over $100 billion in arms sales to the Saudis.
“I think that would be hurting us,” Trump told Fox News on Wednesday night. “We have jobs. We have a lot of things happening in this country. … Part of that is what we are doing with our defense systems and everybody is wanting them and frankly, I think that would be a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country.”
The following day, Trump waved away the incident as something that took place in Turkey involving a Saudi citizen, and was therefore not any of Washington’s business — never mind that Khashoggi was a U.S. resident writing for an American newspaper. [Continue reading…]
Donald Trump Jr. on Friday promoted a smear tying Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi to Osama bin Laden, retweeting a series of tweets meant to imply that the Saudi commentator, who has been missing since last week, supported Islamic terrorism.
With President Trump apparently reluctant to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s alleged murder after he entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, conservative pundits have been straining to provide excuses for U.S. inaction.
Much of that effort has focused on claiming Khashoggi was a terrorist sympathizer, based on his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and career covering terrorist groups and leaders, including Bin Laden. [Continue reading…]