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Trump in Saudi Arabia – much to admire, even more to envy

May 21, 2017

It’s good to see Donald Trump enjoying the hospitality of the Saudis. The sword dancing must be a welcome change from the grim corridors of Washington, where knives seem to await the poor man at every corner.

Trump and Saudi Arabia are made for each other. I’m pretty sure the President is finding much to admire, and perhaps even more to envy.

The Saudis, for example, respect the elderly. At 70, Trump is years past the retirement age of the average Saudi, so he definitely counts as worthy of deference.

They love KFC and MacDonalds. They love big buildings. In their gilded palaces, the décor will make him feel as though he is in Trump Tower. The chairs are built for Trump-sized rumps.

In Saudi Arabia, women know their place in traditional society. When the head of the house goes shopping, his wives follow him several steps behind – a practice with which Melania Trump would be familiar, judging by the recent picture of her following him down the steps of Air Force One.

They have a respectful press. It is against the law to insult officials – even more so to disobey the King. When good things happen, it is because the King ordered them to happen. It’s therefore customary for ministers, officials and the general public to thank him effusively for all the benefits conferred upon the country. Trump would love it if that happened back home.

When the King decided to build a wall along the Kingdom’s northern border, it got built, with no need to seek congressional budget approval. The Saudis have an immigrant problem – too many foreign workers and not enough Saudis in jobs. They are able to deal with it unhindered by their courts of law.

Trump might also notice that there are only three golf courses in the country worthy of the name. If he’s smart, he should be able to rectify that by negotiating – at arm’s length of course – lending his brand to a slew of country clubs. Persuading the Saudis to take up golf en masse might be a little more difficult, but you never know what magic the President might be able to work.

I’ve no doubt that he will have a fund of stories with which to entertain his cronies back in Mar a Largo – if he can remember them. And the Saudis will no doubt look on the trip as an important step in re-kindling the alliance between the two countries. They too might have a few stories to tell, though more discreetly.

Sadly, the biggest favour they could do for America might be beyond their ability or inclination. They could persuade him to stay there.

  1. Thanks Ronnie. Yes indeed, the rumbustious Robert Fisk, the man who turns anger into an art form. Not a fan of the Saudis, I fear…

    • You know. It’s just a tragedy that more don’t. Fisk, being part of the “Mass Media” is of course a professional liar. It’s a shit show mate, and getting more so with each passing day. It’s only reading stuff from people like you that keeps me from believing that I’ve already tipped over the edge. I think that the WWW was a bad (But wholly inevitable) idea, once we’d all survived (only just!) the Cuban Missile Crisis (+ more, that you know about), but at least it allows me to read you, and that’s a bloody good thing in my book… No Welsh blarney involved. It’s just a good thing for me…

  2. Re: Conspiracies. This, as just shared via email with some old mates of mine – not blogged. But you feel like one of those old mates to me, even though I’ve just started reading your blog. You know why, so I think I should share…


    Trump, right now, is meeting with a huge gathering of some of the most appallingly fucked-up and backward “World Leaders” ever assembled in one place.

    In Saudi Arabia… Where else?

    Totalitarian tyrants, extreme religious nutcases, mass-murderers, not-even semi-literate dictators — real loonies of the most mad old sweetie shop PIck’n’Mix variety – Conradian Belgian Congo branch of Woolworths. I’ll bet that Blair is doing the PR?

    Now maybe this is part of some kind of Grand Conspiracy?… But just think about that for about 4 seconds.

    How could you ever get a bunch of sadistic narcissists and complete fucking lunatics like this to conspire together at any aim at all, howsoever evil? They’re so fucking crazy and self-obsessed that they’d scare the shit out of any version of The Illuminati you’d care to have a nightmare about. Even Bad Conspiracy is beyond them.

    This bunch are so feebly mentally bad that Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Churchill, Pol Pot or Stalin would be ashamed to turn up there for the fuck-brain fest.

    They would.

    At least those arseholes had some kind of evil ideology. This sick 2017 mob aren’t even up to that mark…

    • Wow – you’ve out-Fisked Fisk!

      I think you’re being a tad unfair. The leaders in the Gulf and Saudi Arabia can claim to have transformed their countries in terms of literacy, infrastructure, education and in a number of other areas. Could they have made more use of their wealth? Undoubtedly yes. Do they have respect for human rights compatible with western values? No.

      Self-preservation is high on the agenda for the ruling families, and in the past they have acted ruthlessly to maintain that. But none of them compare with the likes of Assad, Saddam and Gaddafi in their methods.

      You also have to remember that the Saudis in particular are sitting on a pressure cooker. If they held elections to a sovereign parliament, the chances are that the winners would be ultra-conservative, not to say extreme, Islamists.

      The Saudis have performed a delicate balancing act over the past eighty years. Their people, whatever their views on governance, will appreciate that they have spent that period largely at peace. They have avoided the fate of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen. That counts for a lot.

      They may not be perfect, but they’re not stupid. Compare and contrast with Donald Trump, who’s not perfect and is stupid.

      • Peace? the House of Saud, put in ruling place by us, over a people who had never previously respected any kind of authoritarian rulership – they were proud and independent Bedouins – have funded via US oil money more disastrous wars and calamities than just about anyone since the end of WWII. And they didn’t even know about it or intend it. It just happened.


  3. I’m a child of The 70’s in Britain. Totally foolishly (And I am by birthright and genes a Welsh Fool) I thought that these kind of pathologically sick sick degenerates were on their way out. Well how wrong can one be? Talk about a “Big Comeback”. And who’s the guest of honour at this Feast of Champions in the land of the big black tents? The most powerful person on earth… Democratically elected no less.. El Trumpo.

    Bugger it. I’m off to the pub. And I wish you were there with me…

  4. Back home now, but you were in the pub with me. You’ll always be in the pub, enjoying a good and lively conversation/argument. It’s what you were made for 🙂

  5. Babycham makes the world go round!

    Re your last comment, again I have to disagree. By the time oil was discovered, Ibn Saud had conquered the peninsula more or less on his own, give or take a few machine guns and other handouts from the Brits. Things changed once Well No 7 in Dhahran gushed forth.

    Have you read The Kingdom by Robert Lacey? He’s very good on the origins of Saudi Arabia.

    Also, to get the perspective of an Arab nationalist (and one-time Baathist) The Trench trilogy of novels by Abdulrahman Munif is superb. I wrote about them here:, and here: .

    It will take more than a night in the pub to explore this subject fully!

  6. I’m sure you’re right. I’ll start “exploring” via your links immediately. One’s never too old to learn 🙂

  7. The Iranians (i.e. Persians) are still absolutely paranoid about the malign influence of The British Empire, right now until this present day. I know this from personal experience and friendships. Any books to recommend about this?

  8. Hi Ronnie. Two books I’ve read that touch on the subject. First is Iran – Empire of the Mind, by Michael Axworthy. This is a history from earliest origins onwards,Second, Kingmakers – the Invention of the Modern Middle East, by Karl E Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac. This has an interesting chapter on the Mossadeq era, and the involvement of the Brits and the CIA. I reviewed the latter here: Hope this helps.

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