The president is riding roughshod over international treaties to make a killing no matter who gets killed, says foreign commentator Simon Tisdall
How grimly galling, as Donald Trump ostentatiously marks todays 75th anniversary of one of the worlds biggest battles, that he is so ready to risk starting another one of potentially greater magnitude. What could possibly be that dangerous, you might ask. Answer: selling American nuclear knowhow to Saudi Arabia without radiation-proof guarantees that it will not be used to make atomic bombs.
Belated confirmation came this week that the US department of energy has issued seven separate permits to allow transfers of nuclear technology to Riyadh. Belated, because the information was purposefully withheld until Democrats insisted on seeing it. Belated also because Trump, his family and associates are doubtless aware of suspicions that they could benefit financially from these or future sales.
The fact that two licences were issued after last autumns murder of the US-based Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, is not the worst of it. Rather than punish the Saudi regime for the killing, as decency and the facts demanded, Trump went ahead regardless. Nor is another noxious fact that the Saudis are prosecuting a merciless war against the people of Yemen the single most powerful reason for objecting.
More terrible than any of that is the blindingly obvious danger that providing nuclear expertise to Riyadh will push Iran, their sworn enemy and regional rival, into developing its own nuclear capabilities. Supposedly the whole point of Trumps campaign of threats and sanctions is to deter Tehran from doing just that. To provoke Iran in this fashion is astonishingly stupid and hypocritical.
It is simply not good enough to say that two planned Saudi reactors, for which multibillion dollar tenders will be sought next year, are intended for civilian, not military use. So far at least, Riyadh has reportedly refused to offer standard guarantees that it will eschew uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing, two well-worn pathways to nuclear weapons, or accept independent inspections.
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