Yes, They're SOBs. But They're Our SOBs
In case you missed the memo, please turn your Twitter Madness Metre ® to Khashoggi. Yes, the all-consuming bonfire of the inanities this week is the brutal murder of Washington Post scribbler Jamal Khashoggi by what appears to be a Saudi hit squad in the nation’s embassy in Turkey.
After weeks of obfuscation, the Saudis have finally admitted to a dog-ate-my-homework story about a fistfight at the embassy leading to Khashoggi being chopped up and distributed to the four winds. Or the ambassador’s residence. Really? Wasn’t that scene done in Donny Brasco already?
This gruesome bit of business has inflamed usually level-haded people such as Screamin’ Lindsay Graham and the CNN anchor roster to demand… something. Something big. Something fast. Something that makes Donald Trump squirm.
(Interesting that anti-Trumpets urging him to act instantly also have no trouble with Robert Mueller taking years to find some small scintilla of evidence that Trump and the Ruskies fixed the 2016 election.)
Such is the fever surrounding this frontier justice that we have apparently forgotten ol’ whats-her-name. You know, the professor who floated a 36-year-old recalled memory at the precise moment that a new Trump-nominated Supreme Court justice was being installed. The very mention of her sucked all available oxygen from the sub atmosphere for a month on Twitter Madness Metre ®
Oh, what was her name?
But I digress. It’s now all-Khashoggi, all the time for the chattering classes. Normally, the Saudis eliminating a domestic critic would be as remarkable as the sun rising. But an outraged media is insisting that Western nations lay down a stern message to a country that literally dismembers people in the public square.
Why? Well, the Saudis and their latest omnipotent leader appear to have made the mistake of killing someone who frequented the same DC dining salons as the American national press and political establishment. Some broke flatbread with him in his capacity as a columnist for WaPo. He was pals with prominent reporters.
You can do many things, but you don’t murder a guy who picked up a tab at Le Diplomate for journos one night when they were a little short on cash.
Thus, we have a fury unseen for at least a fortnight over a guy who, though he didn’t deserve to be butchered with bone saws, was something short of Jimmy Olsen, boy reporter. Nephew of arms dealer Anan Khashoggi, cousin of ill-fated Princess Di consort Dodi Fayed, dabbler in the Muslim Brotherhood propaganda, estranged pal of the current Saudi Royal family, supporter of the Turkish-Qatari axis, friend of disaffected princes and the anti-Saudi elements of the American elite.
IOW: He had a foot in many doors. Some less savoury than others. Of course, the Twitter Madness Metre ® has him as a martyr to free speech and world peace. His final column asking for the Middle East to shake off its 14th century trappings is now being reproduced as evidence that he was a visionary.
A visionary, perhaps, but one who pissed off the wrong people in a bad neighbourhood.
Naturally this has all become fertile ground for Trump Derangement Syndrome. His hesitation in damning the torpedoes with immediate action is seen as yet more corruption from his business days. “Protecting the guilty because they’ve bought you!” We can only be days away from Dems demanding a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump/ Saudi axis.
True, this hysteria (as opposed to the hysteria about whats-her-name) puts Trump in a tight spot. American presidents have been selling arms to the Saudis for decades. Trump’s tab is estimated to be $150 B. Should the keening crowd force cancellation of some or all that business it could lead to a severe shock to the U.S. economy, a disruption in oil supply and a great boost for the Iranian theocracy.
In short, no big whoop to the virtue signallers of the media culture. Now that the Saudis have fessed up, they have their narrative.
Which begs the question of what the U.S. or Canada can do about dealing with these autocratic SOBs to teach them a lesson. Justin Trudeau has made great noise about his lecturing the KSA autocracy on its bad behaviour. That’s the same Justin Trudeau whose own policy is to import Saudi oil to Canada’s east while denying Alberta oil a market in its own country. Because green virtue.
In the Middle East, however, virtue takes the slow lane. As scholar Bernard Lewis pointed out, people in that part of the world admire the strong horse, not the shiny pony. To the Saudis Trudeau is just a cabana boy. Their real problem is Trump, who actually acts on his promises.
With the Marco Rubios and Lindsay Grahams nipping at his heels he has to act. In the end, Trump will no doubt take the escape lane of an old phrase. “Yes, the Saudis are mean SOBs. But they’re our SOBs.”
And we can tune up the Twitter Madness Metre ® to the next story of the century.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the host of the podcast The Full Count with Bruce Dowbiggin on his website is Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). He’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author whose new book Cap In Hand: How Salary Caps AreKilling Pro Sports And How The Free Market Could Save Them is now available.