In Yemen right now, children are living in the worst humanitarian crisis we have seen in the last 100 years. Yemen is on the brink of famine, and nearly every child in the country is in danger. There are reports that 14 million people are at risk of starvation and diseases like cholera. Children are being starved to death, suffering from disease and forced from their homes. That’s according to the United Nations arm UNICEF.
So this would be a really good time for the United States to be deploying its massive diplomatic and military weight with the two protagonists Saudi Arabia and Iran to stop this war. Except …
Except, the United States decided to unilaterally tear up the diplomatic agreement that had been forged with Iran in the previous government, in favour of massive punitive economic sanctions.
This is not a government that believes in rewarding diplomacy with further and deeper trust. So right now when it’s most needed, the United States has nothing to draw on. In fact if Iran is convinced that the U.S. aims to destroy its economy unless Iran either meets its huge demands or gives up power, it could easily decide to retaliate where they have the most influence: Iraq. I’m sure everyone remembers those pro-Iranian militias targeting U.S. troops after the 2003 war. Iraq is shaky and dependent on Iran for a lot. Tehran could easily see Washington’s fatigue with war as a good time to hit back hard.
Trump’s diplomatic stupidity has cost the U.S. diplomatic power with Iran when Yemen needs it the most.
As to Saudi Arabia, the new Democrat majority in Congress is giving more energy to opposing U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s military in Yemen. There’s also a letter circulating from a bunch of senior ex-defence and intelligence officials stating re Yemen that the Trump administration has doubled down on support for the Saudi leadership prosecution of the war, while removing restrictions that the U.S. previously had in place. They state that’s well past time that America’s role in the war in Yemen should end.
And indeed U.S. defence officials are making tougher public stances against Saudi Arabian military action in Yemen. Somewhat. Clearly not enough to really stop the big military deals, so far.
Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a key Houthi leader said in a Washington Post editorial on November 9th that “The United States has the clout to bring an end to the conflict – but it has decided to protect a corrupt ally.”
I think you get the point. I would hope that our own tiny voice is added, since we live and die on good diplomacy.
But President Trump hasn’t yet. What President Trump does respect however is the court of public opinion in the media. So long as mainstream media can get their cameras in there to flood the world with the moral choices that they present across every tv screen, this massive atrocity will tell him the big lesson about why diplomacy works and the effects of his foolish belligerence tearing up hard-won agreements. Access is the big IF.
Without diplomatic pressure that forms ceasefire agreements to get aid in, 14 million Yemenis have their lives at risk.
President Trump, diplomacy matters.