Only last month, U.S President Donald Trump invoked the first veto of his presidency to override an attempt by Congress to prevent the construction of ‘the wall’ across the U.S-Mexico border. This week saw Trump use his second veto, this time to prevent Congress from ending U.S involvement in the Yemeni War. The war in Yemen, which has seen over 50,000 people die, has been a heavy focus of Trump’s foreign policy. Trump rejected Congress’ decision to pull the U.S out of the conflict and referred to the decision as “an unnecessary and dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”
Termed as the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis, the war in Yemen has persisted for several years, amounting to the deaths of over 50,000 people. The U.S involvement in the proxy conflict is via an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia against Iranian-backed forces in Yemen. U.S involvement has witnessed the supplying of countless arms that have sustained the longevity of armed conflict and has arguably contributed to the countless deaths of thousands of civilians.
Like the first veto of his presidency, Trump’s second veto has been argued by some to be an abuse of presidential powers. As such, Senator Bernie Sanders questioned the balancing of priorities on Trump’s agenda, “The people of Yemen desperately need humanitarian help, not more bombs.” Restating this, numerous aid organizations have stressed the need to end the conflict amid the desperate conditions of millions of civilians. This call for an end to the conflict is not only echoed by the international community but also by the American population. The International Rescue Committee released a poll showing that 75% of Americans are opposed to the U.S supply for weapons to Saudi Arabia that fuels the war in Yemen. However, despite this and the number of people at risk from continued military action, an Arab coalition of governments have supported Trump’s veto as significant and necessary.
Throughout his presidency, Trump has consistently sworn to limit U.S interference in foreign wars. This was reiterated just only last month where Trump’s decision to remove troops from Afghanistan was seemingly justified by his remarks that “great nations do not fight endless wars.” The recent decision to veto a resolution to end U.S involvement in the Yemen war, therefore, is contradictory, to say the least. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned Trump’s political irregularity and called to put “peace before politics.” The fact that Trump is effectively siding with the Saudi government, amid recent tensions surrounding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, amply illustrates how far Trump is willing to go to protect U.S interests in the region.
Echoing Nancy Pelosi’s remarks, Trump’s recent veto may imply a dangerous sense of politics before peace. This dilemma is aggravated by the fact that the U.S withholds a unique and powerful capability to act and encourage the reverse; peace before politics. As such, despite the negativity surrounding Trump’s veto, a positive element should focus on the unification of Congress members to pass the bill in the first place. Bernie Sanders and Ro Khanna reiterated the importance of such solidarity, “Today, the US House of Representatives took a clear stand against war and famine.” This is instrumental in pursuing future bills and policies that should seek to ensure peace and security around the world. This would also form an effective amendment to Trump’s refusal of interfering in foreign wars; instead inferring to interfere via international aid and diplomatic support.
I am part of the OWP as I share an important ethos in promoting a critical mindset in an ever-increasing complex world. The ability to understand conflict and to promote peace without resorting to violence is vital in achieving a prosperous and peaceful world. To encourage this view, I am currently a Correspondent for the OWP reporting of current events in the world.