Trump is no doubt proud of the US$100bn order for bombs that he received from Saudi Arabia this week. This is huge. It is a win of the kind that he promised.
It is also about double UNICEF’s annual budget. If Saudi were instead to spend that huge amount of money on education, HIV elimination, clean water, nutrition and child protection, imagine how much better the world would be, and for billions of people. And imagine how much impact that would have on the root causes of terrorism.
But they chose bombs.
So I wondered about Trump’s choice of destinations on his first visit to The Rest Of The World, and was reminded of his Republican predecessor’s “Axis of Evil” speech. This, you may remember, singled out North Korea, Iran and Iraq as somehow evil.
North Korea’s subjects live under a corrupt dynasty that denies them the vote, enriches itself at the expense of its subject’s lives, has no hesitation in killing political opponents, has a tightly regulated press and internet, and will almost certainly cause a horrid war as it spends most of its surplus on arms. The only reason it exists is because it has a powerful sponsor (China) that turns a blind eye to its obvious sins and shields it from its adversaries. Now cross out “North Korea” and replace with “Saudi Arabia” (and replace “China” with “USA”).
Iran is ruled by a corrupt theocracy which nevertheless cloaks itself in some of the trappings of democracy, practices a form of apartheid that discriminates against its own subjects on the basis of their religion, and has an economy that is permanently fucked because none of its neighbours like it. Now cross out “Iran” and plug in “Israel.”
Iraq, at the time of George W.’s speech, was run by a lunatic who got off on big guns. Cross out “Iraq” and write in – need I say more?