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2017 Nov 11 - Trump, Asia & Saudi Arabia

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This week President Trump has been off on a long trip to the Far East in order to bolster trade relationships, come up with a plan about how to deal with North Korea and of course to make a number of barnstorming speeches about how "crooked Hilary Clinton" failed to win any electoral college votes in that part of the world. The last big trip the president made was to Saudi Arabia in order to, amongst other things, finalise a multi-billion dollar weapons contracts and that part of the world has been getting along fine ever since, as long as you ignore facts, the news and passing conjecture, though you could likely say the same about Theresa May's cabinet.

The Saudi kingdom has been "cleaning house" for the past couple of weeks with an ongoing proxy war against Iran that this week led to the resignation of the Lebanese Prime Minister and the seizure of billions of dollars of assets. Numerous high ranking officials have been whisked away by the government in a classic purge from the Jo Stalin playbook. The Jo Stalin playbook of course should not be mistaken for the Jo DiMaggio playbook which strictly limits using a baseball bat to hit baseballs rather than political opponents. The latest purge though is Prince Bandar bin Sultan who is/was Saudi Arabia's most famous arms dealer, former ambassador to the US, and recent head of Saudi intelligence.

Back to Asia though, supposedly the Japanese love Trump, the Chinese love Trump, and don't forget that Trump really loves Trump. In all reality though, the Japanese would love any commander in chief offering them military support for free, and the Chinese will say literally say everything and anything if it means that Trump agrees to drop US opposition to formal recognition of China as a market economy under WTO rules. President Trump is also going to be doing a tour of Vietnam by the way. Oh well, he dodged that one about 50 years ago but better late than never I suppose...
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