In the Middle of a Hurricane Sandwich, Does Size Really Matter?

Nothing like being in the middle of a hurricane sandwich to knock the wind out of a good news story.  Late last week, during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the pending disaster of Hurricane Irma, President Trump met with the emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, the hereditary leader of Kuwait.  This would have been a good time to remind people about the small Middle East nation of Kuwait.  Since the Gulf War, Kuwait has not had much press in America.

As a reminder, Kuwait controls about nine percent of the world’s oil reserves, producing nearly three million barrels a day, making it the world’s tenth largest oil producer.  It is also one of the founding members of OPEC, that organization that forced oil prices to skyrocket in the mid-1970s causing long lines and rationing at America’s gas stations.  Because of its oil income, Kuwaiti citizens enjoy a high standard of living, with each family receiving monthly subsidies from the government.  Kuwaiti men either have jobs in government, which is guaranteed by their constitution, or they own a business, often financed by interest-free loans from the government.  Their salaries or income supplement their monthly subsidies from the government.  As a result, most Kuwaitis have no sense of what it means to perform labor, as all labor is imported, resulting in a population of nearly seventy percent made up of foreign workers.

Kuwait’s workforce is made up mostly of Egyptians, who perform jobs mostly related to the construction industry and working in the oil industry; Filipinos who work as maids, nannies, nurses, fast food workers, and baristas; Indians who work as maids, nannies, bankers, some medical professionals, and teachers, and Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who work as drivers and retail clerks.  Most of the security guards in Kuwait tend to be from Nepal.  The upper echelon of Kuwait’s ex-patriot community are Brits and Americans, who work as teachers and consultants.  There are other nationalities, but are smaller in number.

Kuwait supports a unique form of institutionalized slavery.  In most circumstances, a foreign worker who quits her job without fulfilling the terms of a typically five-year contract can find herself in jail for six months under the charge of “absconding.”  Too often, a female domestic worker (maid or nanny) becomes the victim of rape by her work visa sponsor (employer).  She can file a police report, but unless she can find four adult male witnesses, she will likely be arrested for having sex with a man not her husband, crime reserved for women only.  So she says nothing.  If pregnancy results, to preserve peace in his household and to prevent any of his wives from discovering his transgression, the maid’s employer will likely take the poor maid to the local police headquarters and swear out a statement that the maid absconded, meaning that she left her employment without permission for more than seven days.  She will then be locked up for six months with a deportation order.

One of the benefits to filing a false absconding report is that the employer can get the maid sent back to the Philippines, or wherever she is from, without having to pay her airfare pursuant to the contract of employment.  If she shows evidence of pregnancy, the police, knowing that she is either not married or has a husband in the Philippines, will charge her with the crime of having sex with somebody not her husband, automatically tacking another six month in prison.  The baby will be born in jail, and both the maid and baby will be deported.

There are many other types of abuses, too many to detail for the purpose of this article.  Despite the frequent human rights abuses that occur in Kuwait, America considers Kuwait to be a strong ally, and Kuwait enjoys good relations with many European and other first world nations, all of whom decry all sorts of human rights violations.  Maybe it’s the oil.  To be honest, America no long needs Kuwait’s oil, although, as of 2015, we were still importing about 200,000 barrels a day.  Most of the oil goes to South Korea and China.

Kuwait’s strategic importance to the United States, however, is not the oil.  It is the fact that Kuwait is in the very middle of the Arab states.  The capitals of Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan are all less than a two-hour flight from Kuwait.  More importantly, despite the fact that Kuwait is a strictly Sunni Muslim country with a constitution guided by sharia law, women have much more freedom there than in other middle eastern countries.  They are not required to cover their bodies and faces, they can drive cars, and they can work, so long as they are home by dark if unaccompanied by a male relative.  Because of its adherence to Sunnism, and because of its wealth, Kuwait has leverage over other Sunni-controlled nations, such as Qatar.

Qatar has been accused of giving safe harbor to terrorists, as well as helping to finance Islamic terrorist activities, which has placed a strain on relations with its Muslim neighbors.  Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain have recently imposed sanctions against Qatar and severed diplomatic relations.  President Trump realized that leaving Qatar in the cold would only force it to ally itself with lesser friendly nations, such as Iran and North Korea, believed that the best thing to do was to get Qatar to stop helping the terrorists and bring it back into the fold with other, America-friendly nations.  This makes sense.

So the president had a meeting with the emir of Kuwait to see what he could do to mediate this dispute.  Despite our two hurricanes, this event was noticed by American media.  The Washington Post wrote about it in a small article without a byline and gave the essentials of the meeting without commentary, a remarkable piece of journalism for the Washington Post.  CNBC mentioned the event in a three-sentence article that touched on the North Korea connection.  Other media outlets took notice, too, with nothing more than what was already reported in the Washington Post.  The coverage by Fox was only one sentence.

But Newsweek, Business Insider, and Independent (UK), and many other liberal media outlets, picked up on something that President Trump said at the end of the meeting, which, by modern standards was the biggest news of the day.  When asked about his meeting with the emir, President Trump quipped that the emir had a bigger airplane.  For this little self-deprecating joke by the President, Newsweek produced more column inches of reporting than any other news outlet.  Harkening back to the primaries when Trump and Rubio had their little spat about hand size, Newsweek reminded us that our president is obsessed with the size of body parts, devoting the entire article to that subject.

If there were any intelligent writers in the media left, they could have lambasted the president for giving courtesy to a leader of a country with severe human rights abuses.  Instead, Newsweek reminded us of Trump’s obsession with size of hands, crowds, and hurricanes, but the logic used by the Newsweek writer brought it all down to the most important point of all.  The Newsweek article ended with a simple question, “Could there be a link between Trump’s apparent need to defend the size of his manhood and his apparent insecurity about the length of his plane?”

With all that is happening in the world that makes the world a dangerous place, and despite the growing economy and influence of the United States, the most important thing is not the size of anybody’s manhood.  However, what is readily apparent is the lack of size in the “manhood” of the liberal left.