Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Be Very Afraid: Trump on the Middle East

The late (2008), great George Carlin once quipped: "When you're born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America, you get a front-row seat." Could there be a more apt description of the coming Trump administration than 'freak show'?

What would Carlin, who famously remarked that so many people were either stupid, or full of shit, or fucking nuts, and that one-time presidential wannabe Dan Quayle was all three, have said about Donald Trump?

OK, so brace yourselves. Here, from The Trump interviews: what he said about Brexit, Putin, Israel, Syria... & Twitter (Kate Connolly, theguardian.com, 16/1/17) is Trump on the Middle East. (Note the highlighted words.):


"The Times: Trump said he would not reveal the details of his policy - 'I just don't want to play the cards' - but reiterated his attack on Barack Obama's landmark deal with Iran on nuclear weapons. 'I'm not happy with the Iran deal, I think it's one of the worst deals ever made, I think it's one of the dumbest deals I've ever seen... Where you give... $150bn back to a country, where you give $1.7bn in cash. Did you ever see $100m in hundred dollar bills? It's a lot. $1.7bn in cash. Plane loads'."

Just read that over and over again...


"The Times: Trump was critical of Obama for failing to restrain Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and Putin in their war on rebel forces in the country. The US could have made them stick to 'a line in the sand' but now it was 'too late' and the lack of western intervention had helped to create a humanitarian crisis. 'Aleppo was nasty. I mean when you see them shooting old ladies walking out of town - they can't even walk and they're shooting 'em - it almost looks like they're shooting 'em for sport - ah no, that's... a terrible situation.'

"Bild: Trump said he thought security zones should have been set up in Syria. 'That would have been considerably cheaper. And the Gulf states should have had to pay for them. After all, they have money like hardly anyone else has. The whole thing would have been considerably cheaper than the trauma that Germany is now going through. I would have said: create security zones in Syria'."

What the hell Trump was watching here is anyone's guess. As for the Gulf states, they are, of course, among those US clients directly responsible for the refugee-generating murder and mayhem in Syria.


"The Times: The invasion of Iraq in 2003, he said, was 'possibly the worst decision' ever made in American history. 'It's like throwing rocks into a beehive'."

I'd like to think Trump will hold this thought long enough to prevent a repeat performance elsewhere in the Middle East but I seriously doubt his attention span is up to it.

Middle East & Jared Kushner:

"Bild: Trump said that he would appoint Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, to broker a Middle East peace deal. Asked what role Kushner would play, Trump said: 'You know what? Jared is such a good lad, he will secure a good deal which no one else has managed to get. You know, he's a natural talent, he is the top, he is a natural talent. He has an innate ability to make deals, everyone likes him.' Kushner's wife, Trump's daughter Ivanka, would not have any role in government, he said. She currently 'has the kids' and was busy buying a house in Washington.

"He said the Obama administration's decision to abstain in the UN Security Council vote on Israeli settlements in December 'was terrible' and said that Britain should have vetoed the resolution instead of voting in favour. He said he was hopeful that Britain would veto an upcoming resolution on Israel that could be presented this week. 'I would hope for a British veto, because I am not sure the US would do so - extraordinarily enough. They won't do it, right? Do you believe the US will place a veto? I have Jewish friends who organised a donor event for Obama. I say to them: 'What on earth are you doing? Okay - what are you doing?'

"He refused to be drawn on whether he would move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 'I'm not going to comment on that. But we'll see'."

As George Carlin also said: "In America, anyone can become president. That's the problem."

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