President Trump isnâ€™t known for eloquent defenses of his foreign policy, but on Tuesday he stood up for a crucial American principle. His veto of a congressional demand that the U.S. withdraw support from the Saudis in their war in Yemen keeps responsibility for foreign policy in the White House, where it belongs.
Lest anyone forget, and Congress seems to, the Saudis are leading a coalition against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Tehran aspires to use its proxies to build an arc of influence across the Middle East. Yemen is an inviting target since it controls the passage from the Red Sea into the Arabian Sea, and offers a convenient base from which to launch rockets into Saudi Arabia.
These facts donâ€™t make the war in Yemen less of a humanitarian disaster, or the Saudis more savory as allies. But they explain why both the Obama and Trump Administrations concluded the U.S. has a stake in supporting Saudi Arabia in this fight.