Don't believe 'em.
Oh sure, Trump's speech in Riyadh is a quantum improvement over Obama's groveling suckuppery in Cairo. But when the bar is set that low--mere centimeters above the ground--there is nowhere to go but up.
How do we know that Trump is still some ways away from comprehending the religious dogma that fuels the eternal Holy War (eternal, that is, until Islam finally prevails)?
Ask yourself this: would someone who was clued in to the reality that the leaders he praises so effusively fund "extremist" mosques and madrassahs in the West and around the world (the better to spread Islam and keep the "extremists" from blowing up the Saudis, the corrupt custodians of the two holy mosques) collaborate with these selfsame funders on a Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, and situate the thing in Saudi Arabia?
Sorry, but that's just plain nuts.
It would be helpful if someone could explain to this president that there are two vicious and competing strands of Islam--the Saudis' and the Khomeinists'--and that one is no better than the other.
Update: Andrew McCarthy thinks that Trump's strategy of "Principled Realism" isn't nearly principled or realistic enough:
The principal fiction in “principled realism” is that we share “common values” with Sunni Arab sharia societies. That is problematic because these purported “common values” — in conjunction with “shared interests” — are said to be the roots of Trump’s approach.
The president stressed that during his first overseas trip as president, he would be “visiting many of the holiest places in the three Abrahamic faiths.” The irony was palpable, at least to some of us. Trump is not visiting the holiest places of Islam.
Yes, upon departing Saudi Arabia, he headed to Israel where he prayed at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. In the offing is a jaunt to Rome, to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis. But for all the treacle about “why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation [Saudi Arabia] that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic faith,” Trump sidestepped the fact that he is not welcome in those two sites, Mecca and Medina.
Why? Because the president is a non-Muslim. Non-Muslims are not allowed to step their infidel feet in Islam’s sacred cities.
That iteration of Islamic intolerance is squarely based on scripture — see, e.g., the Koran’s Sura 9:28: “Oh you who believe! Truly the idolaters are unclean, so let them not, after this year, approach the sacred mosque” — a verse that specifically relates to the Grand Mosque in Mecca (Makkah), and has been extended by Islamic scholars to Medina. That is why Trump’s House of Saud hosts enforce a ban on entry by non-Muslims to both cities.
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