June 9, 2017–The latest gem to percolate to the surface here is that President Donald J. Trump, when encouraging Saudi Arabia to bully the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar, did not know that there are 10,000 American servicemembers stationed at a Qatari airbase and command center. (Not to mention that nearby Bahrain, with its port Manama, serves as base for the U.S. Fifth Fleet, our Gulf battle fleet.)
Did not know? What kind of excuse is that? It is the responsibility of the president to know these things. When making decisions affecting U.S. forces, in particular, a president does not proceed without due deliberation. The president has an entire bureaucracy behind him precisely to ensure stupidities like this do not occur. No doubt Trump would like to blame his NSC staff, but the president was shooting from the hip in his conversations with the Saudis, and never consulted them. No doubt he would like to blame the State Department, but it is Trump himself who has done his best to ensure the diplomats have nothing to do, plus empty seats and desks to do it from. And Trump himself went on twitter to claim credit for this stupidity–apparently not even knowing it was that.
On the whole this was an average Trumpian performance. Not worse than usual and definitely not better. The arrogance is only exceeded by the incompetence. No wonder America’s allies now doubt us.