The bromance

The NY Times has an explainer on how Jared Kushner got so cozy with the murderous Mohammed bin Salman.

Senior American officials were worried. Since the early months of the Trump administration, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, had been having private, informal conversations with Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the favorite son of Saudi Arabia’s king.

Given Mr. Kushner’s political inexperience, the private exchanges could make him susceptible to Saudi manipulation, said three former senior American officials. In an effort to tighten practices at the White House, a new chief of staff tried to reimpose longstanding procedures stipulating that National Security Council staff members should participate in all calls with foreign leaders.

That all by itself is stunning and enraging (even though we already knew it). The tightly woven noose of nepotism and pig-ignorance will choke us all. Jared Kushner is a real estate marketer; that’s all he is; he has no ghost of any kind of qualification for running US foreign affairs. Trump might as well give Barron the job.

Anyway Jared and Mo stayed besties despite the staff members, including after the murder of Khashoggi.

As the killing set off a firestorm around the world and American intelligence agencies concluded that it was ordered by Prince Mohammed, Mr. Kushner became the prince’s most important defender inside the White House, people familiar with its internal deliberations say.

Mr. Kushner’s support for Prince Mohammed in the moment of crisis is a striking demonstration of a singular bond that has helped draw President Trump into an embrace of Saudi Arabia as one of his most important international allies.

“A singular bond” aka a weird sinister probably-corrupt collaboration with a murderous authoritarian member of a crime family. I guess that’s the source of the “bond”? They’re both pointless clueless worthless sons of crime families?

But it’s also, the Times underlines, something that was carefully arranged by the Saudis.

A delegation of Saudis close to the prince visited the United States as early as the month Mr. Trump was elected, the documents show, and brought back a report identifying Mr. Kushner as a crucial focal point in the courtship of the new administration. He brought to the job scant knowledge about the region, a transactional mind-set and an intense focus on reaching a deal with the Palestinians that met Israel’s demands, the delegation noted.

My point exactly. He knows nothing and he has the outlook of a marketer, aka “a transactional mind-set,” along with a father-in-law stupid and corrupt enough to give him power he shouldn’t have.

“The inner circle is predominantly deal makers who lack familiarity with political customs and deep institutions, and they support Jared Kushner,” the Saudi delegation wrote of the incoming administration in a slide presentation obtained by the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar, which provided it to The Times. Several Americans who spoke with the delegation confirmed the slide presentation’s accounts of the discussions.

Sigh. They know it, we know it, the Trumpers don’t care.

Just a few months into the Trump administration Prince Jared managed to slide MBS into a formal lunch with Trump after Merkel had had to cancel due to weather. This was not protocol but White House people put out statements saying oh sure it was, everything’s fine, this is all totally normal.

“The relationship between Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman constitutes the foundation of the Trump policy not just toward Saudi Arabia but toward the region,” said Martin Indyk, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Middle East envoy. The administration’s reliance on the Saudis in the peace process, its support for the kingdom’s feud with Qatar, an American ally, and its backing of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, he said, all grew out of “that bromance.”

Well, as long as the boys are happy.

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