Donald Trump’s penchant for dictator-chic is being well-nourished by a glitzy state welcome in China, though that’s likely to fall foul of North Korea and trade wars. This December/January look pretty explosive between Xi Jinping and DT; with a fast downhill slide through 2018.
Today’s FT, sadly behind a paywall, has an excoriating piece by Edward Luce pointing out how much of Trump’s foreign policy inclinations are dictated not just by his love of autocratic rulers but also by his family’s interests which are well-fed by these wily despots. Xi Jinping approved a flurry of trademarks for Ivanka before his visit to Mar-a-Lago; and the first donors to the Ivanka-inspired Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative were Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with a $100m grant.
Trump’s praise for the thrusting young Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, close buddy so we are told of Jared Kushner, is causing concern, since it allies the US firmly with the Sunni side of the Islamic religious split with the Shias. The mega-billion dollar arms deal which Trump trumpeted recently had been in the pipeline for a long time and in any event according to a former CIA official was as close to a ‘fake deal’ as it comes. Trump neither knows nor cares about Middle Eastern stability. All he cares about is trashing Obama’s legacy by wrecking the Iran deal.
Bin Salman may have all the chutzpah, muscle and gold that Trump likes, but it’s a relationship that could and probably will turn sour. Both have Mars in Leo, which could easily turn competitive and worse MBS’s utterly determined Saturn in Scorpio square is conjunct Trump’s Mars; and MbS’s very boosted-up Jupiter opposes Trump’s Pluto, so there will be a power-play going on. Their relationship chart does have a friendly composite Sun Venus Mercury, but that is getting upended by tr Uranus in square through next spring and onwards; with a disappointing tr Neptune square the composite Jupiter and opposing Uranus.
Jared’s relationship with MbS has a composite Sun Mars, which can be dynamic if pulling together or highly combative when agendas diverge. Again next April onwards sees that one coming apart at the seams.