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Yeah, but What Does it Cost? | Stanley Heller

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Stanley Heller Administrator of and writer for Promoting Enduring Peace and hosts “The Struggle” TV News, at www.TheStruggle.org. He can be reached at stanley.heller@pepeace.org.

So Trump says that while he’s thinking of “severe” punishment for Saudi Arabia he doesn’t want to lose the $110 billion arms deal with the Saudi princes and the “500,000 jobs” it would create in the U.S. The New York Times looked into his claim and noted that Trump’s own Pentagon says the amount of new signed orders with Saudi Arabia was $14.5 billion and Trump’s State Department said the number of jobs created by these orders was in the tens of thousands. So Trump merely exaggerated by a multiple of ten or 15.

Let’s leave all morality aside here (like big tough politicians and think-tank “strategists”) and not worry about the murder of one measly Washington Post columnist (remember as Trump reminds us Khashoggi was a non-citizen of the U.S., only a resident). Let’s not worry about the tens of thousands killed by the Saudi-Obama-Trump war on Yemen.

Let’s just be “realists” and consider only dollars and cents.

Certainly, arms sales bring profits to the corporations involved and they do create jobs, but what about the COSTS of doing business with the Gulf, “protecting the oil” and the kings, and emirs, princes, princelings and other royals? Recall just recently Trump said the Saudi King wouldn’t last “two weeks” without U.S. support.

Chuck Hagel, who was one of Obama’s Defense Secretaries, said in 2013 that the U.S. would keep 35,000 military personnel in the Gulf region, some 10,000 of whom were army soldiers with armor or helicopter gunships. Additionally, some 40 US naval vessels then patrolled the Gulf waters, including an aircraft carrier battle group. We have bases in Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain. Sometimes we go to war. To “liberate” Kuwait and give it back to the al-Sabah family we warred on (admittedly nasty) Saddam Hussein in 1991 and then a decade later Bush (George W.) launched “shock and awe” to protect the region and “the world” from Saddam’s (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction and that cost what, $3 trillion, $6 trillion (not to speak of American lives lost because we’re not bleeding hearts).

Back in 2011 Princeton professor Roger Stern estimated that protecting we had spent $8 trillion to protect the “oil flow” from the Persian Gulf over 35 years. How much more now, another trillion or two? The funny thing is the USA doesn’t even use that much of the oil. Stern established that the U.S. was the destination of less than 10 percent of the oil. That was in 2011. Now with fracking and the gargantuan amount of oil pumped out in the U.S. (and deadly greenhouse gases liberated) the U.S. needs even less of Persian Gulf oil.

So you hard-boiled, heard-headed, stone-for-hearts realists, look at all the dollars and cents, the losses as well as the gains. Is protecting the royal tyrants worth it?

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