Why Trump is right to sidestep Congress on Saudi-UAE arms sales – Washington Examiner
President Trump is rightly issuing an emergency declaration in order to authorize $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Those arms will mitigate the risk to civilian lives in Yemen and deter Iran in a moment of escalating crisis.
Others disagree. They say that this action is an unjust sidestepping of Congress and a gift to brutal Saudi-led war in Yemen. And while it’s true that Congressional support is preferable here, and that civilians are suffering terribly in Yemen, Trump’s action is necessary.
First off, Iran is clearly posing a severe threat to both the Saudis and the UAE. In recent weeks we have seen Iranian attacks on oil tankers near UAE waters, and Iranian orchestrated drone attacks on Saudi Arabia. This fits into a broader pattern of aggression against Riyadh to include ballistic missile attacks against the royal family. Until a president decides that these governments should not be American allies, America has a responsibility to support them in an environment of grave threats. Through the provision of advanced munitions, Trump’s action allows the Saudis and UAE to mitigate civilian casualties in Yemen.
Trump’s action is also important in consolidating U.S. allies in our favor. This matters because Russia is aggressively attempting to draw the Saudis and the Emiratis into a feudal relationship with Moscow. That must not be allowed to happen, but it will happen if we turn our back on our allies.
It would turn the region into a playground of warfare in which Moscow alone is able to stem the flow of blood and terrorism, and ensure the supply of oil. And Vladimir Putin would revel in using war to build his own influence and arms sales coffers. Putin would encourage the worst ideological impulses of both the Saudis and Iran, respectively driving them deeper into Salafi-jihadism and Khomeinist expansionism. It would, in short, lead to a much less safe world.
The U.S. gains influence by having our allies’ backs — influence with opportunities: to push for more aggressive political reform in areas such as women’s rights, and toward meaningful resolutions to conflicts such as that in Yemen. Remember, notions of trust and honor are integral not just to Sunni-Arab politics, but to the Sunni-Arab identity that defines Saudi Arabia and the UAE per se. If we abandon these allies now, they will abandon American interests.
The world is imperfect. But Trump’s action today is the one that serves American and moral interests.