( CNN) In Saudi Arabia in May 2017, President Donald Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and key member states of the US Cabinet were treated to a royal, red carpet visit designed to appeal to Trump's fetish for being fawned over, featuring elaborated, ceremonial sword dances in a blinged out, opulent palace that made Trump Tower look relatively modest.

Trump more than returned the favor, delivering a speech in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in which he told the leaders of the Gulf States and other Muslim heads of state that he wasn't going to hassle them about human rights,declaring, “We are not here to lecture–we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be…”

That speech turned out to be a green light for the wild escapades of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, starting with an illegal siege of Qatar two weeks later. Under bin Salman's growing control of the Saudi state, the hands-off American policy has continued, despite a humanitarian nightmare in Yemen, the seeming extortion of Saudi oligarchs of tens of billions of dollars and, if the allegations of Turkish officials are to be believed, the murder and dismemberment of a prominent Saudi writer inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.