Qatar. Got to dance with those what bought you.

Oh my! What to say? Oh what a tangled, messy dance card.

My question for today at the moment:  How much of US foreign policy is now driven by Trump business concerns?

Monday, five (5) Arab nations cut ties — diplomatic and otherwise — with Qatar, a country rich by virtue of geography over huge oil reserves. Apparently, the Qatar monarchy has been giving succor to the Sunni Islamist terrorists and Iran. The Saudis and their friends, probably feeling empowered by the recent visit of dance with President Trump, decided to take action from the US diplomatic playbook and cross Qatar off their friend list.

Aside: In a statement loaded with irony, the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif weighed in on the action: “Coercion is never the solution.” Really?  Iran was sanctioned heavily in 1996. Exports dropped from $277M in 1995 to $200K in 1996. Although I don’t understand the trade trends with Iran since 1996, it has been reported that sanctions worked in bringing Iran to the table of nuclear negotiations.

But, but, back to Qatar.  What about the Trump Organization?  Both here and abroad, Trump is soaked in business dealings – give and take –  with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and … here’s a map.

And I miss Molly Ivins and her acerbic wit — “got to dance with those what brought you”.   With the muddlement and confusement of all that is the Middle East and a President not keen on details but wanting to make deals, we now wonder who has bought position on the President’s dance card for foreign policy decisions.

How much is Donald Trump, POTUS,* indebted to foreign interests?  We demand that he release his income taxes and divest himself of any business interests, or resign.


For reference: I peeked at the US trade in goods – import/export data for 2016:

Qatar: exports from the US of $4,925.7M, imports to the US of $1,160.3M for a net balance of $3,765M.  Note, that is ~$3.8 Billion net. Whoa! Qatar writes big checks.

Saudi Arabia: Exports of $17.9B, imports $16.9B, net $1B.  Bigger business, smaller net. Hmmm.

* Yes, it kills me a little, Ann.

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