Trump’s Obsession with Venezuela and Iran in One Chart

Monday, May 27, 2019
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Donald Trump (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Of all the dictatorships in the world, President Donald Trump has zeroed in on creating regime change—by economic sanctions and/or war—in just two: Venezuela and Iran. He and his team have tried to convince Americans that these two countries are the biggest threats to U.S. national security. This is a real stretch, particularly in the case of Venezuela. So, what is really motivating Trump? Take a look at this chart:


The 4 Nations with the World’s Largest Oil Reserves

1. Venezuela (303 billion barrels)

2. Saudi Arabia (266 billion barrels)

3. Canada (170 billion barrels)

4. Iran (156 billion barrels)

Sources: OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin 2018; Canadian Association of Oil Producers.


Before going on, here’s another question: if you were president of the United States, which would be the first foreign country you would visit? One of our neighbors, Canada or Mexico? One of our long-time democratic allies in Western Europe, say Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy or Spain? Or one of the world’s most repressive dictatorships, Saudi Arabia? Trump chose Saudi Arabia.


Guess who would benefit most from the disintegration of the economies of Venezuela and Iran? How about Saudi Arabia?


For all the talk of Trump being Russian President Vladimir Putin’s lapdog, he is also aggressively promoting the agenda of the Saudi royal family. When both houses of Congress, in a rare display of bipartisanship, voted to stop sending military aid that helps the Saudi royal family’s war in Yemen, Trump vetoed the bill. He even declared a national emergency in order to bypass Congress and provide extra bombs, missile systems and other weapons to the Saudi royal family. When it became clear that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had ordered his henchmen to murder journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Trump refused to condemn Salman.


As Trump said at a rally in Mobile, Alabama, on August 21, 2015, “Saudi Arabia and I get along great with all of them, they buy apartments from me, they spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”

-David Wallechinsky



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