As tensions skyrocket in the wake of the drone strikes on Saudi Arabian oil refineries this weekend, not everyone is pleased with how much deference the President and his team are showing the murderous Saudi monarchy.
Presidential candidate and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) called out President Trump on Sunday night for saying that he was “waiting to hear from the Kingdom” before taking any action in response to the attacks, which were severe enough to trigger a major disruption in Saudi oil production and a concurrent spike in the price of crude oil.
Dismissing him as “Saudi Arabia’s b*tch” and a servant of his “Saudi masters,” Gabbard highlighted the disconnect in his stated desire to put “America First” and his public deference to a foreign autocracy which recently butchered Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has been waging a genocidal war in Yemen over the past several years, and is believed to have been involved in the September 1th terrorist attacks.
Trump awaits instructions from his Saudi masters. Having our country act as Saudi Arabia's bitch is not "America First." https://t.co/kJOCpqwaQS
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) September 16, 2019
Gabbard wasn’t the only prominent figure to criticize the president after his Sunday tweet. She was joined by Senator Bernie Sanders, who warned the president against getting involved in yet another Middle Eastern war simply because the Saudis told him to:
Mr. Trump, the Constitution of the United States is perfectly clear. Only Congress—not the president—can declare war. And Congress will not give you the authority to start another disastrous war in the Middle East just because the brutal Saudi dictatorship told you to. https://t.co/3wstui4O6I
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) September 16, 2019
The United States immediately accused Iran of being behind the attacks even before the Saudi Arabians had come to any conclusions about the perpetrators of the attack, using the incident as an excuse to drastically and conveniently escalate tensions with Saudi Arabia’s biggest rival in the Middle East.
Seeing as this is not the first time the U.S. has baselessly accused the Iranians of committing attacks without having any evidence and the Trump administration’s long track record of lying about everything including the weather — as pointed out by a highly critical Rep. Ilhan Omar — for the President to be making ominous statements about being “locked and loaded” and waiting for the go-ahead signal from Riyadh would seem to indicate that conflict is a foregone conclusion. It feels eerily like the lead-up to the Iraq War, only this time with the President not even bothering to assemble a hastily contrived dog-and-pony show to mollify the doves in Congress and present some kind of factual narrative to justify the oncoming expression of violent imperial might.
Once again, the president is siding with an authoritarian, murderous despot over our allies in Europe, who have not accused Iran of anything at this point and are urging restraint. It appears that the departure of notorious warmonger John Bolton from the Trump administration has not led to any moderation in the president’s foreign policy; on the contrary, without his advice, our stunningly ignorant and approval-seeking president is openly turning to his Saudi buddies (and hotel customers) for direction.
While this is not the first time Trump has done this disturbing song-and-dance posturing game with Iran — the last time this happened, he allegedly called off an attack on Iran at the last minute after deigning to ask how many people would die — the slavish and highly publicized deference to another foreign government is yet another blow to America’s international standing and a clear abdication of leadership on the world stage, not to mention a total embarrassment for everyone involved.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.