What Makes the NYT Say That Trump’s Forgiveness of Saudi Arabia Is About Jobs and Not His Business Profits?22nd November 2018
The NYT featured a news analysis by Mark Mazzetta and Ben Hubbard, that discussed Trump’s willingness to ignore the Saudi murder of reporter Jamal Khashoggi in their embassy in Turkey. The piece begins by telling readers that this decision:
“showed the extent to which he believes that raw, mercantilist calculations should guide the United States’ decisions about the Middle East and the wider world.”
It later adds, “American jobs outweigh American values.”
The piece presents no evidence as to why we would believe that the issue of American jobs plays an especially important role in Trump’s decision. He did announce a weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, which is likely to amount to around 10,000 jobs, assuming that these weapons would not be sold elsewhere if the Saudis didn’t buy them.
The number of jobs is equal to a bit more than 0.007 percent of total employment in the economy. Or, to take another measure, it is a bit more than the number of jobs the country would create in three days at its pace of job growth over the last six years.
It doesn’t seem likely that a president would make major foreign policy decisions over such a small number of jobs. An alternative that is at least as plausible is that Trump is rewarding a good customer at his hotels. The Saudis have been major renters of rooms at Trump hotels since he took office. While Trump refuses to disclose information on the money he receives from the Saudis (in violation of past precedent and possibly the constitution), it is likely considerable.
Given Trump’s continuing concern with the state of his financial empire (why else won’t he divest), it seems very plausible that this would be basis for his foreign policy decisions. It certainly seems more likely than three days worth of job creation.
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