Donald John Trump speaking to the press and Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, leader of Qatar last month during his visit to the Middle East.
Unfortunately in the Trump universe time flies and things change rapidly, not to mention radically. In fact the pace and scope is so frantic poor goofs like Sean Spicer end up eating massive amounts of Pepto-Bismol tabs while swilling cheap gin straight from the bottle.
Early yesterday the Saudis, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt cut all diplomatic ties with Qatar. They were followed by the governments of Yemen and the Maldives, plus the one in Libya which controls the eastern part of the country. Their public reason was Qatar helps sponsor terrorists groups.
Not one to shy away from taking credit for practically everything, Don Trump immediately took to Twitter. He typed, "During my recent visit to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar--look."
Then, "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 extremism and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism."
Yeah, well, if Qatar is such an evil enabler of terrorism why was Trump talking about selling them, lots of beautiful military equipment just a couple of weeks ago? Of course that is just the first question. The second is, why would you insult the only country in the entire region who is willing to host a major U.S. airbase--one that serves as an operational hub for B-52 bombers and is manned by over 10,000 American personnel?
The answers to such queries are obviously for Trump's people to deal with. He is more of a big picture guy who reacts not to the details of policy, foreign, or otherwise, but rather whatever shows up on a Fox News update, just as he did yesterday.
In truth, it's unclear exactly what King Salman took away from his meeting with Donald Trump. However, we do know Saudi Arabia hasn't been a big fan of Qatari foreign policy for quite a while. As far as the Saudis are concerned Qatar is far too tolerant of arch rival Iran. Egypt, on the other hand, is suspicious of its apparent chumminess with the Muslim Brotherhood. In addition Qatar created and financed the news network, Al Jazeera who served as a media cheerleader for the, "Arab Spring," movements which threatened ruling royal houses and dictators alike.
Qatar is a petro laden peninsula surrounded on three sides by water and on the fourth by Saudi Arabia. It is about a 1000 square miles smaller than Connecticut and its 313,000 citizens are outnumbered at home by 2.3 million foreign workers. Given the circumstances it shouldn't be surprising, Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani practices a Byzantine strategy which is designed primarily to ensure the survival of his monarchy rather than serving what he considers someone else's cause.
Besides, no matter what Don Trump believes or tweets Qatar isn't the only government on the Arabian Gulf who performs a precarious high wire act between the twin chasms of chaos and oblivion. Yes, for many it is a performance so routine it has become a simple fact of life. We may not like it, but we do have to acknowledge everyone does what they must in order to survive.
In the end if the Qataris react badly to our guy, he'll huff and puff and probably call them losers in yet another tweet. What he can't do though is replace Al Udeib airbase if al-Thani considers the American insults grievous enough to kick us out of his country.
But hey, these things happen. It is the price you pay when the Big Orange Dude does what he does best--lather up and dive in head first without knowing how deep the water is.
If you believe the cruel rubes who voted for him, that trait is exactly what makes Donald Trump an American messiah and the republic GREAT AGAIN.
The rest of us, however, hold a somewhat different view. It's one that features a mutant version of Elmer Gantry running wild in a big tent that reeks of pissed on sawdust and mildewed canvas.
sic vita est
sic vita est