Stephen J. Adler, Jeff Mason and Steve Holland report for Reuters [April 27, 2017]:
President Donald Trump complained on Thursday that U.S. ally Saudi Arabia was not treating the United States fairly and Washington was losing a "tremendous amount of money" defending the kingdom.
In an interview with Reuters, Trump confirmed his administration was in talks about possible visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel in the second half of May. He is due to make his first trip abroad as president for a May 25 NATO summit in Brussels and could add other stops.
"Frankly, Saudi Arabia has not treated us fairly, because we are losing a tremendous amount of money in defending Saudi Arabia," he said.
Trump's criticism of Riyadh, the world’s top oil exporter, was a return to his 2016 election campaign rhetoric when he accused the kingdom of not pulling its weight in paying for the U.S. security umbrella.
"Nobody’s going to mess with Saudi Arabia because we’re watching them," Trump told a campaign rally in Wisconsin a year ago. "They’re not paying us a fair price. We're losing our shirt."
It's true that Saudi Arabia is not paying the U.S. for its "protection." But how much is Israel paying for American support? Oh, that's right, we're paying for Israel's defense -- despite that fact that Israel is an extremely wealthy nation.
Trump's concept of "America First" seems to mean that all of our "allies" -- NATO, Saudi Arabia, etc. -- should pay the U.S. for whatever defense the U.S. provides -- with the exception of Israel.
In the case of Israel, we pay them. Even though, in the 1970s, Israel said they only required a few more years of aid.
There is no good reason for this continuing welfare/wealth transfer from the U.S. to Israel. Israel's survival does not depend on it. Israel takes the money -- demands the money and offers no gratitude -- because it can. Because Israel's lobby -- and its supporters in the U.S. establishment and media -- are powerful and unforgiving bullies.