The US-Saudi alliance shows justice is only worthwhile when it’s convenient

The US-Saudi alliance shows justice is only worthwhile when it’s convenient

Donald Trump has released a statement defending the US’ relationship with Saudi Arabia, despite admitting that “it could very well be that [Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] had knowledge” of the plan to murder journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In the statement, Trump said it would be foolish to break ties with Saudi Arabia, because of the US$450 billion the kingdom plans to invest in the United States — US$110 billion of which will go to American defence contractors.

Apparently, forsaking the very principles that form the foundation of Western democracies is okay, as long as there is a quick buck to get out of it. According to the White House, if there’s money and influence on the table, state-sanctioned killing of journalists and dissidents is fine.

Everybody knows that in the world of geopolitics, there is far more to countries’ stances than what is revealed. As diplomats often say, it is a matter of finding common ground. Of course there will be cultural differences between states, but at some point countries like Australia must stand up for their values.

How is it justifiable that Saudi Arabia can continue as a valued Western partner in the Middle East, despite the war crimes committed in Yemen by an oppressive regime which incarcerates, tortures, and murders dissidents? This a country that beheads people as a form of capital punishment. This a country that only just gave women the right to drive.

Other than destabilising the Middle East by funding Islamic extremism, and playing havoc with the world’s petrol prices, what does Saudi Arabia contribute that makes it so valuable?

It is the US’ business to choose its friends, but that does not mean its allies must support those choices — and the US-Saudi alliance is not a relationship Australia should be supporting. Saudi Arabia represents everything Australia opposes. It is time to stand up for our democratic principles.

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