Donald Trump has gotten rather positive press coverage for his address to the Saudis. Remember his State of the Union address? Whenever Trump talks for more than 5 minutes without making an obvious ass of himself, people start calling him “presidential.” Talk about low bars.
Anyway, Trump seems to have hit it off brilliantly with the Saudis and the other Gulf autocrats. And why shouldn’t he? After all, he’s a rich, misogynous, aspiring autocrat with a low tolerance for dissent. Their kind of guy. A good perspective on Trump’s chumminess with the Arab oligarchs comes from Molly Hennessy-Fiske of the LA Times. (Thanks to Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum for linking to this piece.) The Arab leaders consider him a breath of fresh air after Obama, whom they considered “weak” because he didn’t join them in their sectarian feud with Iran. Besides, they can do business with Trump without unwanted distractions. As one Arab expert explains,
Trump is a welcome change from Barack Obama because he does not remind them, does not pressure them, about American values and ideas about human rights and democracy. This president is a hardcore realist: He just doesn’t care. This goes well with many leaders in this part of the world….”
Trump seems to have more trouble relating to leaders of democratic countries. Oh, well, you can’t be great at everything.