mars 30, 2023

Le meilleur de Thomas Friedmann et Patrick Chapatte sur le meurtre de Kashoggi

Trump’s Black Friday Sale: Oil, Guns and Moral


By Thomas L. Friedman

The president will sacrifice America’s moral standing for a grotesque blood-for-money transaction.

I really wrestle with this question: What is the worst thing about President Trump’s approach to foreign policy? Is it that he is utterly amoral or that he is such a chump? Because the combination is terrible — a president who is an amoral chump is the worst thing of all. He sells out American values — awful enough — but then gets nothing of value in return.
Trump presents himself as a tough, savvy deal maker, and then he lets all these leaders play him for a sucker. The word is out on the street: “Hey, guys, get in line! Trump is giving away free stuff! Just tell him you’re fighting Iran or the Muslim Brotherhood or that you’re a friend of Sheldon Adelson’s, and you get free stuff!”
Last May, Hanukkah came early for Israel when Trump moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — a dream of every Israeli prime minister — for free! Trump could have gone to Bibi Netanyahu and said: “Bibi, here is the deal. I am going to make your dream come true and move the embassy. But in return you’re going to freeze all Israeli settlements in the heart of the West Bank.” Then Trump could have told the Palestinians: “You’re not going to like this. I’m moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. But I am getting you something no American president ever got you — a freeze on Israeli settlements beyond the settlement blocks.”
Instead, Trump gave the embassy move away for free. Well, I shouldn’t say that. He got millions of dollars in donations for the G.O.P. from right-wing Jewish megadonor Sheldon Adelson — who lobbied for the move — and warm applause from evangelicals. So Trump got something, but America got nothing.
Now Christmas has come early for the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in the form of a get-out-of-jail-free card for his involvement in the murder of moderate Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Khashoggi was killed by a Saudi hit team, which then reportedly sawed apart his body and dissolved the pieces in acid.
The Saudis claim this was a rogue operation that just happened to include key guards and aides of the crown prince. Attention: There has never been a rogue operation by the closest aides and guards of a Saudi leader in the history of Saudi Arabia. Not possible. This is an absolute monarchy. This was ordered from the top.
But because one cannot absolutely prove M.B.S. ordered it, Trump has chosen to give M.B.S. a pass, using the same language he did with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is another recipient of Trump’s free stuff. When U.S. intelligence agencies declared that Putin interfered in our 2016 election, Trump said Putin told him that he didn’t do it. Putin’s regime got a slap on the wrist — a few sanctions — but nothing remotely as damaging to him as his intervention in our elections was to us.
And what did the American people get? Nothing — except a lecture from Trump about why we need Russia’s help around the world. Again, though, Trump personally may have gotten something. More silence from Putin on what he knows about Trump’s finances or other escapades?
As for the Saudis, Trump issued an official statement Tuesday: “King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”
Trump could have told M.B.S.: “I know this came from you. And so you’re not getting a free pass. For starters, you’re going to let every one of these women driving activists that you’ve arrested out of jail; you’re going to announce an immediate, unilateral cease-fire in Yemen — let the Iranians and Houthis have it and we’ll side with you if they attack from there. You’re going to end this stupid blockade of Qatar, and I expect you to keep taking steps to moderate Saudi Islam and ensure that Salafi-jihadist ideas are not exported to any mosque or madrasa from your country ever again.”
Instead, Trump gave M.B.S. a pass on Khashoggi’s murder for the promise of future arms purchases — “the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States,” said Trump.
That may be the most crass giveaway of U.S. principles by any president in American history, especially when you consider that the Saudis are unlikely to spend even a small fraction of that, and it would not be in our interest or theirs if they did. But even if they did buy so many arms, what is the intangible damage to our moral standing all over the world from such a grotesque blood-for-money transaction?
Tell me that the Saudis decided to buy $450 billion worth of American university scholarships for their young people, or import $450 billion in Western education programs and technical colleges for the whole Arab world, and I might feel differently.
To repeat: “People talk as if America’s choices in the Middle East are between ‘good allies,’ like Saudi Arabia, and ‘bad adversaries,’ like Iran, but our actual choices are between bad allies and bad adversaries,” observed Karim Sadjadpour, Middle East expert at the Carnegie Endowment.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are both behaving awfully — just in different ways and places. It is true, though, that a lot of people have given Iran a pass in recent months because it is anti-Trump and anti-Israel, while the Saudis have become pro-Trump and tacitly aligned with Israel.
Did you know that, according to Reuters, on Sept. 28, four days before Khashoggi was murdered in Istanbul, “Danish police shut two major bridges to traffic and halted ferry services from Denmark to Sweden and Germany” — cutting off Copenhagen from the rest of Denmark and causing massive traffic jams — “in a nationwide police operation” intended to prevent an attack by an Iranian government agent on an Iranian Arab exile living in Demark? Denmark recalled its ambassador from Tehran over the incident.
Did you know that on Oct. 2 — on the same day Khashoggi was killed — the BBC reported that “French officials say Iran’s ministry of intelligence was behind a plot to bomb a rally of Iranian opposition groups in Paris in June. In a statement, the French government said it had frozen the assets of two senior Iranian officials”?
Rather than choosing between bad allies and bad enemies, we should be working frantically to do the one thing that is in our whole country’s security interest, financial interest and moral interest — launch a Manhattan Project to get America off oil by 2025.
It is our addiction to oil that funds so much of the bad behavior out of the Middle East. It is our addiction to oil that forces us to look the other way at a murder most vile. And it is our addiction to oil that leads us to think it is actually O.K. to trade a call for justice for a purchase order of arms.

By Thomas L. Friedman
November 20, 2018

We Need a High Wall With a Big Gate
With Trump using immigration simply for political gain, Democrats need to be the adults and offer a realistic, comprehensive approach.
Thomas L. Friedman
November 27, 2018

LIMA, Peru — Kamala Harris, the Democratic senator from California, recently raised eyebrows when she asked Ronald Vitiello, President Trump’s nominee to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement, whether he appreciated the “perception” that ICE spreads “fear and intimidation” among immigrants the way the Ku Klux Klan did among blacks.
Harris carefully worded her question around the “perception” of ICE — and it was raised in part because Vitiello had once shamefully tweeted that Democrats were “the NeoKlanist party.” Nevertheless, with Harris a likely Democratic presidential candidate in 2020, Republican media pounced on her with variations of: “Hey voters, get this: Democrats think the ICE officers protecting you from illegal immigrants are like the K.K.K. You gonna vote for that?”
ICE does seem to have a bad culture, but it is not the K.K.K. At the same time, I don’t think the Democratic Party is just for open borders. Alas, though, I’m also not sure what exactly is the party’s standard on immigration — and questions like Harris’s leave it open to demonization.
Since Republicans have completely caved to Trump’s craven exploitation of immigration as a wedge issue, the country, as usual, needs the Democrats to be the adults and put forward a realistic, comprehensive approach to immigration, which now requires two parts.
The first is a way to think about the border and the second is a way to think about all the issues beyond the border — issues that are pushing migrants our way. You cannot think seriously about the first without thinking seriously about the second, and if you don’t, this week’s scenes of Customs and Border Protection officers firing tear gas to keep out desperate migrants near Tijuana will get a lot worse.
Regarding the border, the right place for Democrats to be is for a high wall with a big gate.
Democrats won’t do as well as they can nationally without assuring Americans that they’re committed to securing our borders; people can’t just walk in. But the country won’t do as well as it can in the 21st century unless it remains committed to a very generous legal immigration policy — and a realistic pathway to citizenship for illegals already here — to attract both high-energy, low-skilled workers and high-I.Q. risk takers.
They have been the renewable energy source of the American dream — and our secret advantage over China.
But thinking beyond the border is where Democrats can really distinguish themselves; it’s where Trump has been recklessly AWOL.
This is how we got to where we are today: During the 19th and 20th centuries, the world shifted from being governed by large empires in many regions to being governed by independent nation-states. And the 50 years after World War II were a great time to be a weak little nation-state.
Why? Because there were two superpowers competing for your affection by throwing foreign aid at you, building your army, buying your cheap goods and educating your college students; climate change was moderate; populations were still under control in the developing world; no one had a cellphone to easily organize movements against your government; and China was not in the World Trade Organization, so everyone could be in textiles and other low-wage industries.
All of that switched in the early 21st century: Climate-driven extreme weather — floods, droughts, heat and cold — on top of man-made deforestation began to hammer many countries, especially their small-scale farmers. This happened right as developing-world populations exploded. Africa went from 140 million in 1900 to one billion in 2010 to a projected 2.5 billion by 2050.
Syria grew from three million people in 1950 to over 22 million today, which, along with droughts, totally stressed its water resources. Guatemala, the main source of the migrant caravan heading our way, has been ravaged by deforestation thanks to illegal logging, farmers cutting trees for firewood and drug traffickers creating landing strips and smuggling trails.
A satellite map just released by University of Cincinnati geography researchers demonstrated that nearly a quarter of the earth’s habitable surface changed between just 1992 and 2015, primarily from forests to agriculture, from grasslands to deserts and from wetlands to urban concrete.
Meanwhile, the internet has enabled citizens to easily compare their living standards with those in Paris or Phoenix — and find a human trafficker to take them there. Also, China joined the W.T.O., dominating low-wage industries, and the end of the Cold War meant no superpower wanted to touch your country, because all it would win was a bill.
So it’s now much harder to be an average little country. The most frail of them are hemorrhaging people, like Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Sudan and most every nation in sub-Saharan Africa. Others — Venezuela, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya — have just fractured.
Together, they’re creating vast zones of disorder, and many people want to get out of them into any zone of order, particularly America or Europe, triggering nationalist-populist backlashes.
But not only. I was in Argentina last month and am in Peru now; in both countries I found people worried about the refugee flows from Venezuela. Peru has taken in 600,000, and it’s beginning to stir resentment here among lower socio-economic classes.
The BBC reported in August: “Tens of thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing their country amid chronic shortages of food and medicines. The country’s longstanding economic crisis has seen more than two million citizens leave since 2014, causing regional tensions as neighboring countries struggle to accommodate them.”
The story added, “The UN — whose migration agency has warned that the continent faces a refugee ‘crisis moment’ similar to that seen in the Mediterranean in 2015 — is setting up a special team to co-ordinate the regional response. … More than half a million Venezuelans have crossed into Ecuador this year alone and more than a million have entered Colombia in the past 15 months.”
There are now more climate refugees, economic migrants searching for work and political refugees just searching for order than at any point since World War II, nearly 70 million people according to the International Rescue Committee, and 135 million more in need of humanitarian aid.
A responsible presidential candidate in 2020 needs a policy that rationally manages the flow of immigrants into our country and offers a strategy to help stabilize the world of disorder through climate change mitigation, birth control diffusion, reforestation, governance assistance and support for small-scale farmers.
This is our biggest geopolitical problem today. Forget the “Space Corps”; I’d make the “Peace Corps” our fifth service. We should have an Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Peace Corps, to send Americans to help stabilize small farms and governance in the world of disorder.
And this has to be a global project, with the U.S., Europe, India, Korea, China, Russia, Japan all contributing. Otherwise the world of order is going to be increasingly challenged by refugees from the world of disorder, and all rational discussions of immigration will go out the window.

By Thomas L. Friedman

Patrick Chapatte

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