OPINION: Trump Can Beat The Khashoggi Dilemma By Sending A Message To Saudi Arabia
This is one dilemma that was handed to President Trump without any participation by him. Trump himself said he would not listen to the tape of the torturous death of Jamal Khashoggi because of its horrific brutality.
This is truly a situation with no apparent easy answer. We have a contract with Saudi Arabia of more than $100 billion for the purchase of military equipment by the monarchy. We have the apparent possibility of a peace plan for the Israelis and Palestinians that would receive support from Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia.
The common denominator that has ironically brought the Arab Sunni states together with Israel is the mutual fear of the loose cannon in the Middle East, Iran. Jared Kushner and his associates have been working diligently to put this proposal together so that the Palestinians will be in a difficult situation to refuse the peace plan with these Arab nations supporting it.
A severe punishment of sanctions against Saudi Arabia could undo these positive interactions between the monarchy and the United States. And do not forget that severe sanctions could lead to the Saudis causing major increases in oil prices internationally, creating economic uncertainty and possible large inflation spikes.
How does the president deal with a horrific murder committed by torture and the issues that have been doing so well between these 2 nations? Let us also not forget that former presidents including Obama, both Bushes and Clinton all had solid relationships with the Saudis.
Trump made it clear on Tuesday that he is not prepared to give up the relationship we have built with the Saudis.
Of course, Congress can stand on the sidelines and complain about this terrible act by Mohammed Bin Salman and his thugs. It is much simpler for a policymaker to complain and demand that the president bring severe sanctions against Saudi Arabia. He has heard that from Democrats and Republicans.
There is a way out of this dilemma with two possible solutions.
We saw Trump receive great respect from King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud when he visited the Kingdom with over 50 Arab and Islamic leaders in attendance at the palace. It was clear there was mutual respect between the president and the king, and they appear to have an ongoing good relationship.
Therefore, one possible solution is for Trump to have a private meeting with the king and urge him to renounce MBS from any inheritance of the monarchy and that he will be permanently eliminated from the line of inheritance of the throne due to his facilitation of the murder of Khashoggi.
This would be difficult but, if accomplished, it would certainly settle the unrest at home on this issue and make Trump a hero in settling this matter without undoing our relationship with the Saudis.
The other option is for Trump to speak to the nation from his desk in the Oval Office to condemn in no uncertain terms the act of murder in an inhumane and brutal fashion. Then he can acknowledge the fact that many in Congress want strong action against the Saudis for this misbehavior of their prince.
Here is where Trump can challenge the Congress and commit to implementing any sanctions or punishment passed as a resolution by both houses of Congress with a majority in each house supporting these severe sanctions.
As we all know, members of Congress have a tendency to express outrage and discontent on issues but seem rarely able to pass legislation in support of that anguish.
Frankly, the president wins in this scenario because there will never be a majority in both houses supporting such sanctions when they know the political fallout if they do pass such a resolution.
Trump can then sit back and watch with fascination as he forces the hand of Congress to do something.
Based on their track record, it is safe to say that the president would win this one after turning it on Congress.
Mike Siegel is a talk radio host on the Genesis Communications Network.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.