Cole Bockenfeld Discusses Trump’s Visit to Saudi Arabia in The Hill

POMED’s Deputy Director for Policy Cole Bockenfeld spoke with Rebecca Kheel of The Hill on May 20, 2017, about the Saudi leg of President Trump’s first foreign trip as president.

“They’re really going all out on this pageantry,” said Cole Bockenfeld, deputy director for policy at the Project on Middle East Democracy “Part of that just plays to Trump and his personality.”

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Bockenfeld, of the Project on Middle East Democracy, downplayed the importance of the arms sale, highlighting that Obama sold the Saudis $115 billion over eight years.

“A lot of the sales that Trump is planning to announce this weekend were beginning to be negotiated under Obama and now are being packaged together to have this big announcement,” he said.

Still, he said, both sides are working hard to make sure the other is impressed during the trip, which could have its downsides.

“Trump and the Saudis are both really scrambling to come up with big announcements,” he said. “Expectations, especially on the Saudi side, are really high in terms of there being a real shift in policy. There’s real potential the expectations won’t be met. That mismatch could have some real consequences and make the trip not go as well as planned.”

Read the full article here.