Trump's Speech in Saudi Arabia: The "America First" President Does his Host's Bidding
Yesterday, we signed historic agreements with the Kingdom that will invest almost $400 billion in our two countries and create many thousands of jobs in America and Saudi Arabia.
This landmark agreement includes the announcement of a $110 billion Saudi-funded defense purchase – and we will be sure to help our Saudi friends to get a good deal from our great American defense companies. This agreement will help the Saudi military to take a greater role in security operations.
Here at this summit we will discuss many interests we share together. But above all we must be united in pursuing the one goal that transcends every other consideration. That goal is to meet history’s great test—to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces of terrorism.
Young Muslim boys and girls should be able to grow up free from fear, safe from violence, and innocent of hatred. And young Muslim men and women should have the chance to build a new era of prosperity for themselves and their peoples.
With God’s help, this summit will mark the beginning of the end for those who practice terror and spread its vile creed. At the same time, we pray this special gathering may someday be remembered as the beginning of peace in the Middle East – and maybe, even all over the world.
America has suffered repeated barbaric attacks – from the atrocities of September 11th to the devastation of the Boston Bombing, to the horrible killings in San Bernardino and Orlando.
The nations of Europe have also endured unspeakable horror. So too have the nations of Africa and even South America. India, Russia, China and Australia have been victims.
But, in sheer numbers, the deadliest toll has been exacted on the innocent people of Arab, Muslim and Middle Eastern nations. They have borne the brunt of the killings and the worst of the destruction in this wave of fanatical violence.
Some estimates hold that more than 95 percent of the victims of terrorism are themselves Muslim.
We now face a humanitarian and security disaster in this region that is spreading across the planet. It is a tragedy of epic proportions. No description of the suffering and depravity can begin to capture its full measure.
The true toll of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and so many others, must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams.
Good Versus Evil
Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death.
If we do not act against this organized terror, then we know what will happen. Terrorism’s devastation of life will continue to spread. Peaceful societies will become engulfed by violence. And the futures of many generations will be sadly squandered.
If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing—then not only will we be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, but we will be judged by God.
This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations.
This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it.
This is a battle between Good and Evil.
The Role of Muslim Nations
We must seek partners, not perfection—and to make allies of all who share our goals.
Above all, America seeks peace – not war.
Muslim nations must be willing to take on the burden, if we are going to defeat terrorism and send its wicked ideology into oblivion.
The first task in this joint effort is for your nations to deny all territory to the foot soldiers of evil. Every country in the region has an absolute duty to ensure that terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil.
Responsible nations must work together to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria, eradicate ISIS, and restore stability to the region. The Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims are its own people. Iran has a rich history and culture, but the people of Iran have endured hardship and despair under their leaders’ reckless pursuit of conflict and terror.
Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.
The decisions we make will affect countless lives.
The legendary Liverpool football manager, Bill Shankly, once said the ball control of his ungainly centre-forward reminded him “of a dog walking on his back legs – he doesn’t do it very well, but you are surprised he can do it at all”. And so it was with Donald Trump’s Middle East speech in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, over the weekend.
The speech proclaimed massive arms sales to the brutal, undemocratic, human rights abusing Saudi regime. These weapons will help the Saudis to further pulverise their poor and weak neighbours in Yemen. Trump went on to tout a Judeo-Christian-Islamic alliance to defeat terrorism in the Middle East, whilst conveniently ignoring that he was speaking in the homeland of fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. Saudi Arabia’s malignant role in spreading its extremist Wahhabi brand of Sunni Islam across the Muslim world also went unmentioned.
Most of all, Trump pleased his Saudi hosts by pledging to support them against their rival, Iran. They had been unhappy with his predecessor, Barack Obama, for doing the nuclear deal with Iran that reduced the risk of Armageddon in the Middle East. The Saudis prefer an American President willing to commit American soldiers to do their fighting for them and save them the bother of finding a way to rub along with their bigger neighbour. Mr “America First” has duly obliged.
The content of the speech, in short, was awful by any normal standards. But, in Trump’s case, performing the Presidential equivalent of tottering on his hind limbs and not peeing on his hosts’ pristine robes is being seen as an unexpected surprise.
About the author
Paul Knott began his working life in a hut on Hull's King George Dock before globetrotting for two decades as an unlikely British envoy. His "instructive and funny" (Alan Johnson MP) book about his experiences, "The Accidental Diplomat", is out now.
He is also the Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Sabotage Times and contributes to publications such as The Telegraph, Forty-20 and When Saturday Comes.
All that travel has failed to shift Paul's inherited old Labour instincts.
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