28,461. 9/16/2019

MILITARY/OIL/SAUDI ARABIA/TRUMP AS PRESIDENT: “After oil installations were blown up in Saudi Arabia over the weekend, President Trump declared that the United States was ‘locked and loaded,’ a phrase that seemed to suggest he was ready to strike back. But then he promised to wait for Saudi Arabia to tell him ‘under what terms we would proceed.’ His message on Twitter offered a remarkable insight into the deference Mr. Trump gives to the Saudi royal family and touched off a torrent of criticism from those who have long accused him of doing Riyadh’s bidding while sweeping Saudi violations of human rights and international norms under the rug. It was hard to imagine him allowing NATO, or a European ally, such latitude to determine how the United States should respond. But for Mr. Trump, the Saudis have always been a special case, their economic import having often overwhelmed other considerations in his mind. Whether, and how, to commit forces is one of the most critical decisions any American president can make, but Mr. Trump’s comment gave the impression that he was outsourcing the decision.”

Peter Baker and David E. Sanger, “With Oil Under Attack, Trump’s Deference to Saudis Returns,” The New York Times online, September 16, 2019

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