When news came out earlier this week that Vladimir Putin and Mohammed bin Salman would meet to discuss the death of Jamal Khashoggi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit, I jokingly said it would likely begin with a high five. Well, Good Lord!, that actually seems to have literally happened, as you can see here.
Good Lord! I actually predicted this (maybe low energy high five or side five but still!) pic.twitter.com/2TXnl70V4o
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) November 30, 2018
TPM Reader MK shared some thoughts on this disturbing development …
So much of the response to Putin and MBS’ display of pleasure focuses on the fact that they are murderers, but I can’t help feel it’s a genuine expression of excitement at feeling finally and openly “in charge” – in the way the US and England have been. We’ll see where this goes, but the eclipse of American diplomatic power is well underway (see Justin Trudeau scolding “Donald” over tariffs).
This feels like the flip side of your post yesterday about what’s driving Trump’s foreign policy. The diminishment of the American president has real consequences for vulnerable people around the world. But it’s more than that. The failure to staff the State Department, the incompetence of his team and tendency toward kleptocracy of his family and underlings. It will be years and years before we even know the scope of the corruption and treachery on our side and by other nations who see that we are a weaker nation. That’s assuming the rule of law prevails and we find out about it at all.
Thanks for covering all this madness. I hope it leads somewhere good. I just can’t shake the feeling that something much bigger than American politics is shifting but we can’t quite see it yet.