Readers React: Trump cedes America’s moral high ground by not being tough on Saudi Arabia

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi looks on during a news conference in the Bahraini capital, Manama, in 2014.
(Mohammed al-Shaikh / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: For most of the 20th century, the key difference between America and other nations like Russia, China and Germany was that America had a moral conscience that reflected the values of its people (“Congress and Western allies demand answers on fate of journalist as Saudi Arabia balks,” Oct. 14).

We were driven to do “the right thing” because of how we defined ourselves as a nation. We weren’t afraid to speak loudly when other nations engaged in clearly atrocious behavior.

Now we have a “businessman president,” and businesses do not have a moral conscience. They can ignore dictators’ human rights violations if they can do business with them. As long as President Trump believes there is money to be made, there will be hardly any consequence for Saudi Arabia’s alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.


Tell me, how is Trump’s America any different from Vladimir Putin’s Russia if we have lost the moral high ground?

David Higgins, Los Angeles


To the editor: We should take immediate action to hold Saudi Arabia to account for the apparent death of Khashoggi.

The phrase “war on journalism” gets thrown around a lot these days. In the case of Saudi Arabia’s alleged killing of Khashoggi, there is no other way to put it.

Saudi Arabia’s actions are beyond the pale of all norms of civilized behavior and are a direct affront to democracy, the rule of law and freedom of the press. Khashoggi’s alleged horrific murder was meant to intimidate journalists and dissidents the world over in order to send a message.

We must send a message back. Saudi Arabia ought to suffer immediate and devastating sanctions, including the freezing of Saudi assets, the removal of diplomats and the halting of further arms sales.


Elliot Gipson, Los Angeles


To the editor: Khashoggi’s disappearance is very serious, and it deserves the most thorough investigation and punishment for anyone involved.

But what about the suspicious death of Fernando Alban? The dissident Venezuelan politician, after returning home from the United Nations general assembly, was arrested at Caracas’ airport and ended up, 72 hours later, dead from a highly suspicious “fall” from the 10th floor of the state police agency’s headquarters.

Both incidents — Khashoggi’s disappearance and Alban’s death — occurred within days of each other, but the latter has been mostly ignored. Why is that?

If we demand justice for one, we must also demand justice for the other.

Raul De Cardenas, Los Angeles

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