President Trump’s Muslim ban is not only mean-spirited and, hopefully, unconstitutional, but it is irrational because it doesn’t even include the country most responsible for spreading terrorism around the world: Saudi Arabia.
The travel restrictions on seven Muslim-majority countries was rationalized as a way to thwart potential terrorists from entering the United States, with Trump citing the tragedies of 9/11 and the San Bernardino shooting as motivations behind the executive order. But no citizens of the seven banned countries were responsible for the deaths of any Americans on US soil. It is indeed a glaring omission that Saudi Arabia, the country that furnished 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11, was absent from the list.
Protecting Saudi Arabia is not new; it has been US policy since the discovery of oil in the desert nation in the 1930s. Despite evidence that the Saudi government was supporting ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliates, President Obama continued the cozy Saudi relationship, including selling the Saudis massive amounts of weapons. But when Obama signed the nuclear deal with Saudi’s nemesis, Iran, the relationship started to fray. It now appears that Donald Trump, despite his criticisms of the repressive kingdom during the campaign, will be an even more staunch supporter of the Saudi regime.