A Turning Point for Iran?
DENVER – US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia offered a rare glimpse into his emerging foreign-policy agenda. It is now all but certain that the Trump administration will abstain from lecturing foreign leaders about their countries’ democratic shortcomings, and that promoting human rights will take a backseat to other priorities.
Efforts to encourage democracy and respect for human rights have rarely, if ever, prevailed against $110 billion arms sales, and this will be especially true during Trump’s presidency. Whether a potential business partner adheres to international human-rights norms seems to be irrelevant to this administration.
But the real news from Trump’s trip is that he has now fully embraced the Sunni Arab world, not least for its opposition to Iran. In his speech at a gathering of Sunni Muslim leaders in Riyadh, Trump delivered a sharp and visceral rebuke of all things Iranian – including, it seems, that country’s recent elections. His remarks were music to the ears of Sunni Arab leaders, who regard Iran as the root of all evil, and the source of the Shia resurgence in Iraq.