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Douglas Andrews / November 22, 2022

Biden Caves Once Again to the Saudis

Another day, another disgraceful walk-back for the American president.

The crown prince ain’t Corn Pop.

That has to be the lesson learned by phony-tough Scranton Joey Bagadonuts Biden last week, when his administration granted Saudi Arabian Crown Prince-turned-Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman immunity from a lawsuit over the 2018 murder and cutting up into little pieces of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Istanbul.

It was yet another shameless curtsy capitulation from this craven commander-in-chief who, during a Democrat presidential primary debate in 2019, vowed to get tough with the Saudis. “We were going to, in fact, make them pay the price,” he warned, “and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are.” In an interview that year, Biden also called it “flat-out murder.”

Of course, honor and dignity and the keeping of one’s word don’t matter to Joe Biden. Recall that he went hat in hand to Saudi Arabia back in July and claimed to have raised the issue of Khashoggi’s murder with the crown prince at the start of their meeting. “And it was exactly — I was straightforward and direct in discussing it,” Biden stumbled. “I made my view crystal clear. I said very straightforwardly, for an American president to be silent on an issue of human rights, is this consistent with — inconsistent with who we are and who I am? I’ll always stand up for our values.”

Uh-huh.

Biden’s latest slink-away didn’t sit well with Khashoggi’s former fiancée, Hatice Cengiz. And it shouldn’t have. “Jamal died again today,” she said on Twitter minutes after the news became public. She added later, “We thought maybe there would be a light to justice from #USA but again, money came first.”

Nor did it sit well with Washington Post Publisher Fred Ryan, who verbally took Biden out back behind the gym:

In granting legal immunity to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, President Biden is failing to uphold America’s most cherished values. He is granting a license to kill to one of the world’s most egregious human-rights abusers who is responsible for the cold-blooded murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist.

While legitimate heads of government should be protected against frivolous lawsuits, the Saudis’ decision to make MBS prime minister was a cynical, calculated effort to manipulate the law and shield him from accountability. By going along with this scheme, President Biden is turning his back on fundamental principles of press freedom and equality. The American people — and those wronged by MBS in Saudi Arabia and around the world — deserve better.

If only The Washington Post were as tough on this president regarding matters of inflation, illegal immigration, energy independence, woke education, rampant crime, military unreadiness, and the Biden Crime Family’s influence peddling as it is this particular pet peeve. Not that we condone what the Saudis did. We deplore and denounce it. But we’d also like to see the Post put a sock in the self-aggrandizement.

In a written statement, a spokesperson for the White House National Security Council leaped to Biden’s defense: “This is a legal determination made by the State Department under longstanding and well-established principles of customary international law. It has nothing to do with the merits of the case.”

And to this we say … he’s got a point.

Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton agreed with the Biden administration’s decision to grant immunity: “What the administration has touted this week in granting sovereign immunity to Mohammed bin Salman is in keeping with the … custom of lawsuits involving foreign heads of state. It would have been a major break if those customs did not grant that kind of immunity.”

Cotton is making the case for Thomas Sowell’s constrained version of the world — a world in which human nature is enduring, flawed, and self-centered rather than malleable and perfectible, as it is in the progressive’s unconstrained version, as embodied by compulsive liar Adam Schiff, a California Democrat: “I don’t support the granting of immunity,” he said. “We ought to put our value on life not oil and I think this is a tragic decision.”

Cotton is right and Schiff is wrong. We often have to make the best of bad choices.

Virginia Democrat Mark Warner agreed with Cotton, putting it this way: “The reason why there was a grant of sovereign immunity, even to leaders we don’t like, is as much to protect American leaders and American diplomats when they’re posted abroad from being subject to Saudi Arabian law or Russian law or South African law.”

Fair enough. But it doesn’t absolve Joe Biden from the shame of this latest embarrassing walk-back.

Will any benefit come out of Biden’s decision? Maybe. As The Wall Street Journal reports: “OPEC oil producers are discussing an output increase, the group’s delegates said, a move that could help heal a rift between Saudi Arabia and the Biden administration and keep energy flowing amid new attempts to blunt Russia’s oil industry over the Ukraine war.”

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