Mixed messages galore here. Qatar is a terror-supporting nation. Our “friends” (and I use the term very loosely) Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain have broken ties with Qatar because of its support of the Muslim Brotherhood.
And now, the Pentagon has announced we’re selling $12 billion American F-15 fighter jets.
“Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis met today with Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs Dr. Khalid al-Attiyah to discuss concluding steps in finalizing the Foreign Military Sales purchase of US-manufactured F-15 fighter aircraft by the State of Qatar. The $12 billion sale will give Qatar a state of the art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Roger Cabiness told CNN in a statement.
I suppose you won’t hear any complaints from President Trump on this, given that F-15s are made here in the U-S-of-A and that means jobs for Americans. But Qatar is either an enemy of a friend–or a friend of our enemies but still our friends too?
This begins to resemble middle school “dating” more than diplomacy.
But other officials in the administration including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have called for the situation to be deescalated and on Wednesday while appearing before the House foreign affairs committee Tillerson played down any suggestion the President is on a different page stating: “there is no daylight between he and I” on the issue of Qatar.
Defense Secretary James Mattis said the relationship with Qatar is “not tidy.” Understatements are normal in this line of work.
This is just one more chip on the table in Trump’s deal-o-matic game where every statement and every action is based on the art of the deal in an amoral power game of transactions. Last week we called on Qatar to end funding for terror–and today we sell them fighter jets.
Contradictions only matter to those who care.