Publicly available facts about the recent purges within the Saudi Royal family are too few and far between for me to form a judgment about what is happening in the Gulf.
What is certain is –
- The Saudi King has purged top figures within his House.
- Trump appears to have been, if not actively coordinating the purge with the King, at least aware of the King’s plans and fully approves of them.
The best educated guess that broadly explains these two data points is that the House of Saud, with the full support of Trump, is purging royals who are too favorable to Islamic terrorism for the Trump administration’s liking.
If this is the reason (it is not yet certain) then Trump is pushing Hamiltonian diplomacy like a pro by setting aside whatever moral qualms we may have about a foreign tyrant’s repressive tendencies at home and joining hands with him in a common strategic objective.
And in no other environment is it more necessary for America to ally with compliant dictators than in the Islamic world because the evidence is overwhelming that Islamic Democracies are more dangerous than Islamic dictatorships.
That record is so bleak that American foreign policy should officially be changed to endorse Islamic dictatorship over Islamic democracies on the condition the dictatorship in question does not threaten American strategic interests in the Middle East. If a Muslim tyrant insists on threatening American interests excessively then the Hamiltonian approach should follow the tradition of the Eisenhower Doctrine by replacing a non-compliant Islamic dictator for a compliant dictator – but not a Democracy – as Eisenhower himself did by overthrowing Mossadeq and replacing him with the Shah –
The Eisenhower Doctrine was a policy enunciated by Dwight D. Eisenhower on January 5, 1957, within a “Special Message to the Congress on the Situation in the Middle East”. Under the Eisenhower Doctrine, a Middle Eastern country could request American economic assistance or aid from U.S. military forces if it was being threatened by armed aggression. Eisenhower singled out the Soviet threat in his doctrine by authorizing the commitment of U.S. forces “to secure and protect the territorial integrity and political independence of such nations, requesting such aid against overt armed aggression from any nation controlled by international communism”. The phrase “international communism” made the doctrine much broader than simply responding to Soviet military action. A danger that could be linked to communists of any nation could conceivably invoke the doctrine.
The list of Democratic failures on Muslim soil thoroughly justifies a formal American embrace of cooperative Muslim dictatorship regardless of how brutal they may be to their own people –
- Egypt – The Egyptian military junta headed by Hosni Mubarak which had for years been a reliable American ally was temporarily overthrown by the Muslim Brotherhood and with the assistance of the pro-Islamic terrorism Obama administration. The Brotherhood would have seized total power over Egypt and turned the country into a major sponsor of Islamic terrorism had the Egyptian military not overthrown the Democratically elected Brotherhood.
- Libya – One of the greatest American foreign policy disasters of all time. Ghadafi agreed to surrender his nuclear program and no longer support terrorism against the West in exchange for recognition of his regime. By overthrowing Ghadafi the Obama administration not only handed Libya to the control of ISIS and Al Qaeda warlords, he also taught North Korea and all tyrants with nuclear aspirations that surrendering their nuclear program for peace with America is suicidal for their regimes.
- Iraq – Although Saddam had been an American adversary since his 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the best American strategy would have been to try to flip him to America’s side, continue a containment policy, or replace him with another Iraqi strongman who willing to restore ties with America. Iraqi Democracy was always a pipedream that could only end in utter failure, and so it has. The elected Iraqi government has proven itself weak, unable to defend its own territory against Muslim insurgents, and is almost certainly doomed to eventual collapse. America should support a military coup against Iraq’s Democratic government that will install a new Iraqi tyrant who will bring enough order to allow us to withdraw more of our forces
- Syria – The country that almost became Libya. Acquiescing to Assad’s rule while insisting Assad not use his WMDs has been one of Trump’s finest policies. The collapse of Assad’s government would have been a replay of Libya where ISIS and other Muslim warlords seized Syrian and Syrian WMD stockpiles, exterminated the religious minorities who were allied with Assad, and turned the whole of Syria a MadMax arena of Islamic terrorism, genocidal anarchy, and international crime.
- Turkey – Perhaps the saddest loss of all. Turkey was our most consistently reliable Muslim ally during the Cold War. The thanks for that partnership goes to the Turkish military that has been reigned in by an increasingly anti-Western Erdogan. The greater concern for America is that Erdogan, as vile as he is, is not close to the worst ruler Turkey can produce. If Turkey isn’t to slip into an anti-American stance the hope for preventing it lies with a revival of the anti-Democratic Turkish military.