I’m still wondering why I should care about Middle East intrigue, Islamonazis killing each other….
Jamal Khashoggi was a decent man who suffered an unjust and brutal fate. But he doesn’t matter as much as many journalists and politicians are saying.
What happened to Khashoggi isn’t that surprising in the context of Middle Eastern politics, or that momentous for U.S. interests. As brutal as it might read, Khashoggi’s fate is a reflection of standard-fare regional politics. The Middle East is a region in which power is shaped by the intersection of personal whims, desperate aspirations, venomous ideologies, and the paranoid balance of power interactions. And I’m sorry — considering American interests in the context of Middle Eastern politics, Khashoggi isn’t that important.
First, though, one caveat: I respect those who suggest that Khashoggi’s fate might require America to reassess its relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and that because of what he did to Khashoggi, bin Salman has shown himself to be an impossibly unreliable partner. While I don’t believe that to be true (I believe the Saudis can be made to learn their lesson), I respect the consideration.