Saudi Arabia’s apparent killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi — and the Trump administration’s haphazard response — is an unmistakable sign that U.S. foreign policy has swung too far away from its roots in promoting American values abroad. Readjusting President Trump’s “America First” ideology to include the promotion of democratic values is needed to prevent gross human-rights violations such as this, and to win the greater struggle against the expansion of authoritarian influence worldwide.
Khashoggi’s disappearance is not just the latest sign the Saudi regime under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, commonly known as MBS, is exporting its brutality beyond its borders. It also shows the authoritarian model championed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China is on the march and directly harming U.S. interests. The Trump administration now faces a crisis in its relationship with a key ally, and complications in all of its other policies regarding the Middle East.
To understand how U.S. policy failed in the Khashoggi case, we must grasp the larger context. MBS is following Putin’s foreign policy script: concentrating power, bullying neighbors, killing critics abroad and pushing the limits of aggression to test whether the world will push back.
“What we are seeing is a sort of Putinization of world order,” said Vance Serchuk, adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “Techniques the Russians pioneered and that went either unchallenged or appeared to be successful, others are now imitating.”
Read the full article and more in The Washington Post.