Trump made some remarks on Yemen, Iran, and Saudi Arabia earlier this week that make for depressing reading. First, he says this:
Trump began by saying, [relevant remarks begin around 5:00] “I will say this about Iran, they’re looking to go into Saudi Arabia. they want the oil. They want the money. They want a lot of other things having to do. They took over Yemen. You look at that border with Yemen, between Yemen and Saudi Arabia. That is one big border, and they’re looking to do a number in Yemen, and I think they want it to go. That’s phase one, to go into Saudi Arabia, and, frankly, the Saudis don’t survive without us. And the question is, at what point do we get involved, and how much will Saudi Arabia pay us to save them? Because that’s ultimately what’s going to happen. We made a true — we made a power power out of Iran. We made a power out of Iran with the deal.”
This is a thoroughly misinformed and foolish series of statements. Iran didn’t take over Yemen, and it isn’t trying to take it over. The Houthis don’t work for Iran, and they ignored Iran’s advice when they decided to seize Sanaa. The idea that “they took over Yemen” is the lie that the Saudis and their allies have been peddling for almost two years to justify their atrocious war. It doesn’t surprise me that Trump still claims to believe this, since this is what he said about the war last year, but it shows that he hasn’t learned anything since then. It’s embarrassing that the incoming president is so poorly informed about this, but I wouldn’t expect anything better from someone taking advice from the likes of Flynn. Practically nothing Trump said in that quote is accurate, and it shows how much the obsession with Iran distorts his view of the entire region.
Trump goes on to declare his willingness to defend the Saudis:
Trump was then asked if he would “take military action against Iran?” “Well, I would want to help Saudi Arabia. I would want to protect Saudi Arabia. But Saudi Arabia is going to have to help us economically. They were making, before the oil went down, now they’re making half, but they were making a billion dollars a day.” He added that such action against Iran would depend “on what the deal is, I would have to do that. I would defend certain groups of people over there.”
Obviously nothing says “America First” like going to war to defend the Saudis and “certain groups of people over there.” Trump appears to have no problem with having Americans fighting other nations’ wars so long as the U.S. is compensated to his satisfaction.