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Should We Sell Weapons to Saudi Arabia?: Podcast

It's bad when U.S. presidents think of weapons sales to dictatorships as jobs programs, but should we remove political constraints on arms dealing altogether?

||| REUTERS TV/REUTERS/NewscomREUTERS TV/REUTERS/NewscomWhen Lesley Stahl asked President Donald Trump how he would punish Saudi Arabia if the oil-rich dictatorship was found to have murdered Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the president quickly turned the conversation toward the importance of arms sales to American jobs. Was that the right answer?

No it wasn't, argue editors Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, Nick Gillespie, and Matt Welch on the Monday editor-roundtable version of the Reason Podcast. But maybe, they add, that's an argument for re-examining whether government should have any role in limiting commerce between U.S. companies and far-flung baddies. The discussion then ranges from the ethics of dictatorship junkets to seasonal Saudi-bashing syndrome to Trump's ongoing presidency-demystification project, before moving on to the politics of anti–political correctness and the trauma-absorbing qualities of Mr. Rogers.

Subscribe, rate, and review our podcast at iTunes. Listen at SoundCloud below:

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

'18 - Ghosts II' by Nine Inch Nails is licensed under CC BY NC SA 3.0

Relevant links from the show:

"Did Saudi Arabia Murder This Expat Journalist for Criticizing the Government?," by Joe Setyon

"Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance Doesn't Seem to Faze White House," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"With the Saudis, Trump Shows Timidity," by Steve Chapman

"Rand Paul Says He'll Try to Block Saudi Arms Sales Over Khashoggi Disappearance," by Brian Doherty

"The President Shouldn't Act as an Arms Dealer to the Saudis," by Veronique de Rugy

"American-Backed Saudi Coalition Kills 40 Children in Airstrike, Injures Dozens More," by Nikhil Sridhar

"Trump's 60 Minutes Interview Further Demystifies the Presidency," by Nick Gillespie

"Study: 80% of Americans Believe Political Correctness Is a Problem," by Robby Soave

"Don't Take Too Much Comfort From Surveys Showing Widespread Opposition to 'Political Correctness'," by Ilya Somin

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Photo Credit: REUTERS TV/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • Shirley Knott||

    Eisenhower was right.

  • Just Say'n||

    "Should we sell weapons to Saudi Arabia?" should have been a question five years ago when they started committing war crimes against the Yemenis. But, now that they've killed a journalist it's suddenly become a legitimate question.

    Note to China, you're good with the concentration camps and jailing dissenters, just don't kill a journalist. Because then all the "right thinking people" will actually get upset. Just make sure your victims don't attend the "right" cocktail parties.

  • Cathy L||

    Five years ago? It's very important to virtue-signal by indicating the murder of Khashoggi isn't as important as Saudi's other crimes, which only began with the bombing of Yemen and not with treating women as chattels or beheading people for blasphemy.

  • Just Say'n||

    I mean, if we want to go further back, sure we shouldn't have been providing weapons to the Saudis since probably forever. But, I think using those weapons to starve and bomb an entire population in order to gain advantage over a regional adversary would have been a pretty good point to have reassessed the situation.

    Our weapons are not what allowed them to behave like tyrants to their own people. They've been doing that since the end of World War I

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Of course it's not important, Cathy. Journalists are lefty scum of the earth, a sort of sub-human troglodyte that wears human skin only to disguise its reptilian hide.

  • Just Say'n||

    Yup, Chipper. Their lives should matter more than some poor people in Yemen. Good take

  • Pro Libertate||

    What's that orb? Sargon?

  • ||

    No Pro,

    It the Palantir that Sauron stole and donated to the Yemenis :-)

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Remember, kids, muslims are the orcs of Earth, fundamentally evil and incapable of goodness.

  • IceTrey||

    We have to or they will start selling oil in Euros and destroy the petrodollar the only thing keeping us afloat.

  • CqU||

    > We have to or they will start selling oil in Euros and destroy the petrodollar the only thing keeping us afloat.

    Spot on.

    If we didn't take them to task for their complicity (at best) or outright backing (at worst) for 9/11, we are going to do so now over a journalist?

    The military industrial complex is the cornerstone of US pseudo-UBI. No president is going to endanger that. Or risk driving up oil prices and sinking the economy unto recession just before an election.

  • General_Tso||

    'No it wasn't, argue editors Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman, Nick Gillespie, and Matt Welch on the Monday editor-roundtable version of the Reason Podcast.'

    Is there any question regarding Trump that this peanut gallery wouldn't have a problem with?

  • Cathy L||

    Do you want to explain why it was the right answer?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Should We Sell Weapons to Saudi Arabia?

    9/11 was almost a decade ago. Let it go already.

    But maybe, they add, that's an argument for re-examining whether government should have any role in limiting commerce between U.S. companies and far-flung baddies.

    I haven't seen so much hedging since my days posing as a migrant lawn care specialist.

  • crufus||

    "9/11 was almost a decade ago."???

  • Brandybuck||

    Oh if only there were a listener call-in feature. Then I could ask WHO THE FRAK THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO HAVE AUTOPLAY VIDEOS ON HnR!!!!

    p.s. Can I say "frak" on a family channel?

  • Woody Chip Hurrrrr?||

    p.s. Can I say "frak" on a family channel?

    Fuck no! Spell out fark or buy some Mint Thins, but stop pussyfooting around.

  • ||

    Hey Brandybuck,

    Safari 12.0 is very effective at allowing you to block video autoplay.

    Speaking from experience because it really pisses me off also!

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    It's bad when U.S. presidents think of weapons sales to dictatorships as jobs programs

    By Presidents, you mean a large number of elected representatives in congress?

  • Just Say'n||

  • Dillinger||

    >>>Trump's ongoing presidency-demystification project

    mystery? pulling back the curtain on what was already known.

  • Uncle Jay||

    I'll get in touch with SA and let them know I have a few slingshots lying around some where.
    Then we can talk business.
    Slingshots are good against goats, camels and women who wear makeup.
    I'm sure the Saudis will go ape shit over my prices.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    I wonder if the Saudis helps us with renditions and just trying to follow our lead. Poorly.

  • Trigger Warning||

    No.

  • Jerry B.||

    I'd wonder if Reason asked if we should be selling weapons to the Saudis starting in 2008.

  • TGoodchild||

    Perhaps we need to send more "journalists" to KSA...

    Besides, it isn't as though we sell KSA - or any arms-dealing ally - our best tech.

  • Mongo||

    I get a kick out of that photo.

  • Mongo||

    What did Britain do (beside shit in their pants) after Russia offed people in an English city?

  • LiborCon||

    Now that we're the world's largest oil producer, we should hit their oil fields with dirty nukes. Let them experience poverty and famine like Yemen.

  • CDRSchafer||

    The middle east is full of terrible options because it's full of terrible people.

    Saudi has lots of weapons without buying new ones and if the Kingdom falls and the Wahhabists get a hold of them,. that would be bad.

  • JimMelloan||

    OMG, I just heard NPR's Greg Myre pronounce it "LockHEED."

  • crufus||

    We should not be selling weapons to any of the middle east countries controlled by violent fanatics: Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt, Syria, etc.

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