What does $100b arms deal with the Saudis actually mean?

According to the President, it means “Jobs jobs jobs!”

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President Trump meets King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in Riyadh AFP/Getty Images

Coal miners and unemployed steelworkers in the mid-West should probably not get too excited about this. If the arms deal does mean more jobs, it is probably not going to mean low-tech jobs like theirs are going to be reinvented.

 But more importantly, what it does mean is that the Saudis, already one of the world’s biggest spending military nations behind the US, China and Russia will have extra killing power to use on its near neighbours, particularly those in Yemen and Iran.

 So jobs in the US, if there are going to be any extra ones, probably means more dead bodies in the Middle East.  The problem is that this doesn’t seem to have occurred to the President of the United States.

 You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realise that giving more arms to one side in the Middle East is not going to be a solution for finding lasting peace.  And you also don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realise that if you start giving arms to the Saudis, the Iranians will start feeling threatened, then then someone might start selling more arms to the Iranians. Or the Iranians might start beefing up their nuclear program again.

 It’s also interesting that Trump is now selling arms to a nation which he denounced during his presidential campaign for masterminding the attacks on the Twin Towers in 2001 and after his election, said should be banned from exporting oil to the US, and has accused the country of killing gay people and enslaving women.

The President will soon move on to Israel where he will meet Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Netanyahu will probably want to know why the US has signed an arms deal that could  ultimately be worth almost half a trillion dollars with the Saudis much of which could be used against Israel.

 What’s the betting that Trump’s solution is to pat Netanyahu reassuringly on the arm and say,  “It’s all right, Benjamin, I will sell you $1 trillion worth.” And then boast about being a great dealmaker

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