Yemen, Middle East
The second veto of the Trump presidency divides his core supporters, and erodes some of his anti-establishment bona fides.
Trump’s Politically Tricky Yemen Veto
Yemen is a small and impoverished outpost on the Arabian peninsula.
Its relative geopolitical insignificance inspires a series of tu quoque arguments surrounding the Saudi-U.S. coalition’s activities in the country. If the country matters so little, why should foreign policy realists expend significant political capital—as they have—trying to stop said activities? But by the same token, if Yemen matters so little, why should Washington allow itself to be led by the nose by its junior partners in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi?
The reality is that Yemen is a metapolitical battle, which was renewed again Tuesday night by President Donald Trump’s veto of a congressional rebuke of his administration. The White House’s position was inherited from the Obama team. Chances are good—with a United States mired in debt, and populist forces galore unleashed in recent elections—that a debate (primacy vs. restraint) will define a generation of foreign policy thinking, as Stephen Wertheim pointed out recently in the New York Times. Yemen is part of that story.