Did you catch the coverage of DJT and his newest best buddies the Saudis, at the Islamic “Counter-Terrorism Center?” I might have missed something, but all I saw was a whole lot of Arab men (no women allowed) sitting at computers doing God knows what. Purifying the local Internet based upon Islamic law with a foundation in ultra-conservative Wahhabism, probably. It might be easier to just call it what it is. Good old fashioned censorship.
This highlights the contradictory thinking America continues struggling with when it comes to the Arabs. It is also at the heart of the battle the ruling House of Saud is having with so much of its populace, which privately continues to support ISIS and other terrorist factions. The House of Saud and their King, put on their best face when Trump comes to visit, but have to continually worry about facing an uprising should that face prove to be too progressive, setting the extremist Wahhabist’s hair on fire.
Watching the video come in I had two thoughts. The first, was that there were no women working at the “Center.” How are they supposed to get there when they can’t leave the house without their husband’s permission and they aren’t permitted to drive? The second, was that the whole place would be emptied out once Trump and the Americans left the premises.
There’s a whole big cultural thing going on here, you see, and one has to wonder the degree to which Donald J. Trump and his advisers might be clueless. It’s a geopolitical mistake western leaders have continued to make bigly since at least the end of World War I, when they carved up the Middle East with borders the Arabs and other indigenous peoples failed to recognize, and it’s getting really, really old. Pretty sure there’s nothing about the Sunnis and the Shia and their centuries old differences in “The Art of the Deal.” It’s not the kind of thing Donald would have picked up while doing his research watching “Fox and Friends,” the only media outlet he seems to approve of.
To date, everything he’s done on his trip appears to be building polarization between the two branches of Islam, which can only lead to greater conflict rather than peace.
Then there’s the Administration’s aversion to our free press.
In Riyadh, Rex Tillerson again turned his back on American journalists, as they were kept out of a news conference Tillerson held with Saudi foreign minister, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir. In the past, the Trump Administration had barred only select media outlets from attending press conferences at the White House while allowing only one reporter to accompany Tillerson on his trip to Japan. Now they appear to be slamming the door on all the American media, while only the Saudi press is allowed through the door in Riyadh and the Russians hold sway in the Oval Office. Remember the Russian press being allowed into the Oval Office while our guys were kept out when Donald met with the Russians? And then the Russians turned around and bitch-slapped Donald, by releasing all those photos of the Prez grinning broadly with two enemy agents complicit in hacking the U.S. election in 2016?
A pattern seems to be developing, indicating the Donald favoring strong-man Kings and dictators, while having serious problems with the blessings of democracy and a free press. And now there are issues with mere handshakes.
Remember Donald not wanting to shake Angela Merkle’s hand?” Well, he’s taken that several steps further in Israel, where Bebe Netanyahu, reportedly had to order his entire cabinet to attend a welcoming ceremony for the Trumps, after cabinet members were told the American President had no interest in shaking their hands.
Hope Donald knows that praying at the “Wailing Wall” doesn’t mean that he should literally wail, as his entourage moves on to Israel. Then again, who really cares? The man just did a one-eighty with the Saudis who he earlier blamed for the attacks of 9-11. Now he appears to be doing all he can to fire up war with Iran. He has no credibility left. Chaos, confusion and ill-will seem to follow him wherever he goes. A little wailing might actually do him some good.