Are Treasonous American Politicians Selling America’s National Interests?

Some 30 years ago, after the liberation of Kuwait, a senior Saudi Arabian official told me, “Americans are mercenaries, we pay them and they do our bidding.” At that time, I rejected these words out of hand, but with the passage of time, I have come to see how money has made America’s public servants almost treasonous — putting the “me” before the “we” in the conduct of their public duties. We must put an end this — America must not be for sale if we are to survive as a sovereign nation in this treacherous world.

Example 1 — the Selling of America to Saudi Arabia

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, was appointed Senior Adviser to the President in the White House. You may recall that this is the Kushner who could not secure a Top Secret Clearance through the normal channels because of his suspected foreign connections to Israel and Persian Gulf Arab oil producers. No matter, Trump overruled those in charge of awarding clearance and he got Kushner clearance to see America’s top secrets, something that is invaluable for anyone helping foreign clients. During the Trump presidency, I pointed out my fear about what might be happening before our eyes as Trump and Kushner cozied up to Saudi rulers. I wrote about it but no one seemed to care. MBS or Mohammad bin Salman, the effective ruler of Saudi Arabia, could be bribing Kushner and other members of the Trump family and cabinet to do their bidding — not holding the ruler of Saudi Arabia accountable for the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, supporting the Saudi war effort in Yemen, keeping mum about the domestic crackdown and arrests in Riyadh, guiding the sale to Saudi Arabia of top-of-the-line military hardware through Congress, pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran, piling on more sanctions on Iran and divulging America’s top secrets on MBS enemies inside Saudi Arabia which has led to hundreds of arrests.

Remember, Saudi Arabia is a country where the ruler can give anything to anyone he wishes. First of all there is the promise of lucrative future contracts and business deals. Then there are on-the-spot gifts of jewelry in the millions of dollars. I have seen and know how the al-Sauds bribe their “friends” who they later label as mercenaries and worse behind their backs. But the United States has never seemed to care.

Now in 2022 and in plain sight we see how past support for Saudi Arabia for those in office has paid off handsomely for Jared Kushner. Kushner, a man with no experience in the business of private equity, managed to secure a $2 billion investment for his fledging private equity firm from the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF). The investment was further sweetened with a guarantee to Kushner of $25 million a year for management fees, even if he loses money, and of course an even bigger payout as a percentage of potential profits. It is not that investors have been rushing to invest in Kushner; since leaving office he has raised a total of $2.5 billion, of which 80% is from Saudi Arabia and the remaining 20% also coming mainly from abroad. The investment by PIF was not endorsed by the Saudi Arabian panel that screens PIF’s investments, but PIF’s full board chaired by MBS overruled the panel and approved the investment. Interestingly, another Trump associate, Steven Mnuchin who also supported Saudi interests when in office but unlike Kushner has some experience in private equity could only raise $1 billion and on terms that are less favorable! Did Kushner do more for MBS and deserve more than Mnuchin?

Did Kushner adopt policy positions that benefited Saudi Arabia and hurt U.S. interests then or in the future? The policies that Kushner championed are what MBS wanted, not policies that would enhance America’s standing in the world. While the payoff to Kushner for services rendered are transparent to the world now, they were also apparent four years ago but no one really seemed to care when secrets and policies were about to be sold.

Example 2 — the Selling of America to Israel

Another interesting case in point is lobbying in the United States on behalf of Israel. Lobbying has led to Israel receiving more economic and military aid than any other country since 1948. In military aid, Israel has received absolute top-of-the-line military hardware that the United States shares with only about a handful of other countries around the world. The United States arguably defended Israel from annihilation in its early days. It has kept silent on Israel’s large arsenal of nukes, something that could still provoke proliferation, but Israel will not give up its arsenal even though all countries in the region are willing to declare the Middle East a nuclear-free zone. The United States, with monumental damage to its own international credibility and reputation, has defended Israel in the indefensible. At the UNSC, the U.S. cast it first veto in 1970 and since then has cast another 82 vetoes, more than any other permanent member during the period from 1970 till now, most frequently to block resolutions condemning Israel, a country that has been condemned more times by the United Nations Human Rights Council than all other countries combined. The one time that a U.S. president, Obama, even abstained on one of these resolutions, he was raked over the coals in Washington by Israel’s backers in Congress and in the media.

The United States has justified its support for Israel on the basis that Israel is America’s stalwart “ally” in the Middle East. Jared Kushner has been one of the principal lobbyists for Israel and his Top Secret Clearance could have only enhanced his value to his friend Netanyahu. The Ukraine crisis has provided a test of Israel’s standing as an ally. The U.S. tried every which way to get Israel to be a co-sponsor of its UNSC resolution condemning the Russian invasion. Israel refused! While Israel, America’s great “ally,” turned down the U.S. request, 81 other countries signed on as co-sponsors. Israel justified its stance on a number of flimsy grounds, including the safety of Jews in Russia and Russia’s presence in neighboring Syria. While Israel nurtures its relations and its hot line with Russia, it refuses U.S. pleadings. Clearly, Putin’s tough language makes Israel bow, but America’s years of “love” and over-the-top support, support that harms American interests around the world, gets little traction.

Israeli politicians are not bashful about saying that they support Israel’s national interest first. Can politicians in the House and Senate honestly say that they put U.S. national interests first or do they first look to the lobbyists who support Israeli interests?

Putting U.S. national interests second to personal interests — money from Saudi rulers or lobbyist support on behalf of Israel — is treasonous. America’s politicians must be held accountable for selling the security of the country.



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Hossein Askari

Hossein Askari

MIT engineer and economist. Prof: Tufts, UT-Austin, GW. IMF Board. Writing: Econ-Finance, Oil, Sanctions, FP, Middle East, Islam ()