Saturday, 11 August 2018

Susan Rice: President Trump, the Autocrats’ Best Friend | NYT

Opinion | Susan Rice: President Trump, the Autocrats' Best Friend - The New York Times

This is indeed a pathetic response from Trump's administration (New York Times) and while I don't really have much time for Susan Rice, here she is spot on. Pathetic pandering to a nasty country which should never have been an "ally", vast oilfields notwithstanding. For which is no real payback, there is no explanation (save the pathetic moral equivalence of Foggy Bottom), no explanation, and certainly no strategy one can discern, not even "persuasion", as Scott Adams would have one believe. 
(Adams sees grand persuasion strategies in everything Trump does, having become a Trump lickspittle, despite his protestations to the contrary. His recent fawning description of a visit to the WH was a real low point for this once respected cartoonist and persuasion predictor). 
Strategy: grand Sunni alliance against Iran? Maybe, Saudi are in that camp anyway; they ain't goin' nowhere and would not go anywhere, even with some stern words from the US supportive of Canada's position. 
That is how, consistent with America's traditional global leadership in defense of human rights, we would reiterate longstanding objections to Saudi abuses. We would support Canada, a NATO ally and indispensable neighbor, whose statement was neither harsh nor ill-conceived. We would signal subtly to Saudi Arabia that if they have a problem with Canada over this, then they also have one with the United States, because neither of us will be cowed into curtailing our criticism of friend or foe, when warranted. 
Instead, after a shockingly weak initial response on Tuesday, the State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, mustered the following: 
"We have a regular dialogue with the Government of Saudi Arabia on human rights and also other issues. This particular case regarding Canada, we have raised that with the Government of Saudi Arabia. They are friends, they are partners, as is Canada as well. Both sides need to diplomatically resolve this together. We can't do it for them."