The good news is that President Trump apparently did not say anything stupid or insulting to his Saudi Arabian hosts and to others in a major speech to leaders of Muslim nations in which he urged them to join with the U.S. to fight world terror.
While I have neither listened to all the speech nor read the full transcript (from which he may have deviated a little from time to time) I think I agree with this excerpted paragraph, as provided by The Atlantic site:
America is a sovereign nation and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens. We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership—based on shared interests and values—to pursue a better future for us all.
Back to my words:
I think our problem in the Middle East and elsewhere is nation building. We work with cultures we do not understand and stir up resentment even among people thought to be friendly to us.
But at the same time, just like Trump said, the safety and security of our citizens is our first priority — and of course how we get there in world hot spots is another question.
Example: we have no right to tell North Korea how to run its internal business. But the hands-off approach to the crazy-man regimes there has now come to a point where we are in peril.
We went into Afghanistan ostensibly in a search for Osama Bin Laden or maybe him and his Taliban but we got bogged down — not learning from the disaster the Russians had years earlier when they invaded that country — and at the time we supported Bin Laden against them. It gets so complicated.
There has already been criticism that Trump ignored the issue of human rights in Muslim nations he wants to work with us in the fight against terrorism.
We can encourage, sure, but it is not our business. Somehow I think the evolution in the Middle East will eventually lead to democracy. Some thought it would have happened rapidly during the so-called Arab Spring like it did for much of Eastern Europe when the old Soviet Union fell apart. It spent so much time using police and military force to repress its people and building up armaments and sowing seeds of socialist revolution around the globe that it caved in of its own weight. It failed to address the needs and aspirations of its people.
And back to the present. And then there was this is Trumps speech:
And it all comes down to this. An arms deal. We want their oil and they want our armaments.
Nothing ever changes.
But if Trump made no major gaffe that’s good.
And perhaps the realpolitik approach is better than the Obama apology approach. I understand they respect power or at least the attempt to project power and self interest in that part of the world — that is how they operate.
(Obama is a better man. He is a grownup. Despite his age, Trump does not seem to be much of the time. But in this instance the practical approach seems best. He did not write his speech. But if he can stick to the script and lay off Twitter, we might all weather it for the time being.)
And really isn’t it about time we told the Muslim world to quit fighting among themselves over how to believe in God and drawing the rest of us in? Even Trump could not have said that, but isn’t that how you feel?