I am slightly puzzled by the mass outrage over the US-Saudi relationship in light of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
That the murder of a journalist is heinous is obvious. That the highest levels of Saudi government were likely involved is highly likely. But this is certainly not the first criminal act by a US ally, nor will it be the last. The US, like nearly every single country in the world, has a long track record of realpolitik, that is, sometimes doing business with bad actors.
I wonder if people are so upset because this happened during Donald Trump’s presidency, and the president, in his bumbling, ignorant manner, has attempted to defend the regime that played a part in this cold-blooded killing.
Let’s be honest. Since when has the US had a major issue with dictators? During the Cold War the US was happy not only to do business with dictators, but even to prop them up. The dictators, August Pinochet of Chile being one example, were considered allies in the fight against Communism.
The US helped plot the assassination of socialist Patrice Lumumba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in favor of Mobutu Sese Seko, who plundered the wealth of his country, leaving a legacy of utter poverty and ongoing civil war.
Fast forward. The US is happy to do business with China because it’s profitable. Rare is a genuine concern expressed about China’s abysmal human rights records, even though there is currently an attempted genocide taking place against the Muslim Uighur people — hundreds of thousands of people — not just one journalist.
Even with regard to Saudi Arabia, the regime has been committing murderous human rights violations for years. There was no international outrage. So why now?
Shana Goldberg may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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