Donald Trump has issued two Tweets which contradict the official US policy of neutrality over the Qatar crisis as articulated yesterday by the American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Trump posted the following Tweets which show him taking the Saudi and by extrapolation, the Egyptian position on Qatar.
So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2017
…extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2017
Like Egyptian President Sisi, Donald Trump is correct. Isolating Qatar is a step towards cutting off one of the heads of the double-headed Salafist snake.
Of course, as Trump knows himself, as he said so during his campaign, Saudi Arabia is also a key factor in the war against terrorism, but people who are quick to jump on Trump’s rhetorical hypocrisy ought to read more deeply into the situation.
As The Duran reported yesterday, Donald Trump’s heart has always appeared to be in the right place. That is to say, unlike his predecessors and his campaign rivals, he is not ideologically driven. He is driven in terms of foreign policy by money and prestige and beyond that, he does seem to harbour a public knowledge of who and what causes terrorism. During the campaign he more or less said that both Saudi and Qatar ought to be on notice and that Russia could be a potential ally. He also said that the Syrian government is not the problem but a possible solution to the threat of terrorism.
The President of the United States just called Qatar a sponsor of terrorism in a couple of short Tweets. Just let that sink in.
Could anyone imagine Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton say the same?
What this does to show is that as The Duran also pointed out yesterday, historically, for all of its crimes, misdemeanours and unsavoury ideology, prior to the ascension of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the country’s de-facto foreign policy maker, Saudi was often more tactful than it has recently been.
There is every possibility that when in Saudi, Trump told his hosts to politely ‘put up or shut up’. To that end, it is also likely that Trump quietly told them to direct their aggression towards Qatar, something which could and indeed has helped get Egypt to step up its public stance against a manifestly dangerous Qatari state.
The move has also helped to prevent Turkish President Erdogan from acting as rashly as he almost certainly would like to do. Rather than jump blindly into the fray, he called first on President Putin to engage with a legitimate member of the international community rather than attempt to directly meddle into Arab affairs, something which never usually ends well for any modern Turkish regime.
For those who simplistically think this is bending the rhetoric to suit a pro-Trump narrative, just consider how Russia has handled Turkey.
Russia has never come out and said that the Turkish state is an enemy, nor evil. Russia has likewise been careful never to directly associate President Erdogan with criticisms of Turkey from Russian officials who keep things matter of fact without resorting to being provocative or needlessly offensive.
The result is that Turkey, in order to maintain essential trade, commercial, scientific and tourism ties with Russia, has come to respect Russia’s position and not act as flippantly as Erdogan did in the very recent past. Russia does not control Turkey as Turkey is a large, powerful and highly influential state, whether its foreign policy agenda is manifestly good or manifestly dangerous. The fact that Erdogan’s foreign policy has been manifestly dangerous, has not allowed Russia to pursue Turkish relations from the point of view of ideology nor anger.
While many mocked Trump for kissing the proverbial Saudi arse, sometime far more important could have been going on behind the scenes. The close timing between Trump’s visit to Riyadh and the diplomatic isolation of Qatar, led by Saudi is almost certainly not a coincidence.
What Russia did to Turkey in a quintessentially Russian way, is what a Trump led America may have done to Saudi in a quintessentially American way. Russia calmly showed Turkey that it can preserve its economy and its international prestige by working as part of the Astana group and retaining close contacts with the Russian government and head of state. If Turkey did not accept this reality, Turkey would find itself isolated from both its traditional friends and of course its historic adversaries, including of course, Russia.
Likewise, Trump may have said to Saudi, ‘help me help you…or else’. Saudi may have accepted an offer it couldn’t refuse.
Even if America had nothing to do with Saudi’s decision to isolate Qatar, Trump will certainly reap the benefits as though American had played a hand in the chain of events.
A bloodless coup in Qatar now looks increasingly likely.