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COMMENTARY: How Big is the Saudi Deal?

 

The deal that the King of Saudi Arabia and President Trump signed this past weekend is worth just under $400 billion. Currently, the GDP of the Kingdom is $649 billion annually. While the deal takes place over ten years, it may well be the biggest arms deal ever between the United States and Saudi Arabia since oil was discovered in the Kingdom in 1938.  Every billion dollars infused into the US economy from this deal adds 2,500 jobs or more, and in this case, at least 1,000,000 good paying, new jobs will be created for Americans.

For those of you who did not hear the speech, let me give you my take as to what I thought were the highlights. These are not necessarily in order of importance:

Trump showed leadership and compassion.  His comments about the Muslim people, their culture, and their history were respectful yet challenging. He recognized the Saudi’s leadership place in history, but he charged them with eliminating terrorism in the world. America will help them, but the Arab nations and the leadership of these nations must be responsible for the eradication of this blight on the world. America will help, but the Arab Muslim countries must be partners and actively join in the fight.

In his speech, Trump had harsh words for Iran and their threat to the world as a leading state sponsor of terrorism. He said that Iran must never be able to produce nuclear weapons. I think President Trump perceived the Obama/Iran nuclear deal potentially shifted the balance of power in the Middle East to Iran at the expense of Saudi Arabia.  His new deal will swing the pendulum of power more towards a balance between the two and give Saudi Arabia more equality with Iran.

As to the tone and pace of the speech, he was very measured, and I think that was good for most of the participants do not understand English. Trump’s slower pace gave the interpreters more time to translate. I felt he was very measured in his tone, demonstrating the importance of the address.

Much has been written about how disorganized Trump was at the beginning of his Presidency. There has been a great deal posted about the lack of personnel in the State Department.  How is it possible that this meeting, with both state and business leaders, was put together and the deals agreed to in such a short time? Perhaps the headlines are incorrect. It is just possible that Trump and his team can multi-task.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE have pledged $100 million to support a women’s empowerment fund proposed by Ivanka Trump. Trump and members of both American political parties have been critical of the treatment of women in both the Kingdom and other Middle Eastern countries. While admitting there is a large amount of work yet to do, this is a significant start. Ivanka, however, said she would not play any role in money raising or input on any of the decisions the Empowerment fund makes.

This summit meeting was the first time most of these Middle Eastern leaders have had a chance to meet and talk with Trump. They are finding he is not the person the mainstream media has described. Trump went on to Israel where he became the first sitting American president to go to the Western Wall and pray.

The most telling quote of the weekend came from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when he told the President, “You are capable of doing the impossible.”

As much as the Democrats don’t like it, Donald Trump in his first international trip came across as someone who is capable, and cares about them and their future. He says what he feels. I think the national leaders and businesses that attended this summit believe that President Trump wants peace and prosperity throughout the world.


Dan Perkins

Dan Perkins is a novelist who has written a trilogy on a terrorist attack against the United States. The Brotherhood of the Red Nile series is available at Amazon.com. Mr. Perkins book web site is www.danperkins.guru.

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