This is part two of our interview with expert business intelligence analyst Mike Hickle. Mr. Hickle sat down with us to explain why the nattering naybobs of negativism that claim Trump's deal with Saudi Arabia won't create very many jobs are wrong. You can read part one of the interview by clicking this link.
DL: OK, so you were about to begin discussing the job creating effects from Trump's Saudi deal that will come from supporting the Saudi export of Wahabi Islam. What kind of jobs would those be - I mean they already make their own prayer bead and rugs don't they? And would many Americans want those jobs anyway?
MH: Oh, it has nothing to do with making religious artifacts. You see, support of the Saudi regime does no favors to the dissatisfied in Saudi Arabia who already see us as infidels. In fact, this only makes it even more necessary for the Saudi royals to continue buying arms from the US. Plus, the Saudi’s see the Shi’a Islam that is led most prominently by Iran as being existentially opposed to their Wahabi brand of Sunni Islam. By propping up the Saudi regime with plenty of big weapons, they have no need to find a peaceful resolution to their theological differences. So, military tensions will remain both within and without Saudi Arabia for the foreseeable future. While this doesn’t create jobs, it does maintain them as well as a steady stream of profit for arms manufacturers. Trump campaigned on jobs, so this is important. And, hey, who doesn’t like a profitable US manufacturer?
By keeping military tensions high in this unstable part of the world, Trump virtually guarantees that the US will be drawn into a fight in the Middle East. This will be done, if for no other reason, to prevent Iran and Saudi Arabia from confronting each other in direct combat i, which could precipitate a global war. Given that Islam is a global religion, if the two main factions began a holy war, it could easily draw the rest of the Muslim world into the fight.
DL: So, how does this give us jobs?
MH: Well, the likely progression is that the jobs will begin from battling ISIS.
Since the Saudis will be itching to use their new weapons against ISIS, but that could spark a third world war if they overstep. That means the US will have to stay in the region to strike targets that are too politically sensitive for the Saudis to strike. That means we can rely on the US going into another war in the middle east.
Now, Afghanistan i had over 100,000 troops and Iraq ii had over 160,000 troops deployed there at the height of the conflicts. Since there is significant ISIS presence in both Iraq and Syria, it’s reasonable to assume that each country will require 100,000 troops to deal with ISIS. Further, those are only Boots on the Ground numbers, and do not include an additional 100,000 military personnel in the region that provided support for the 2 wars iii. Since those military support jobs would likely go away if we pulled out of the region, it is fair to count them as newly created jobs by the president. There is another 300,000 jobs. Also, while military jobs are great, that doesn’t even include the contractors that will be hired.
DL: So, we are selling them weapons that we don’t want them to actually use, and will get into a war in their region to keep them from getting into a war and using the weapons that US arms manufacturers sell them? How does that make sense?
MH: You are viewing this arms deal from a military and political science frame of reference. The business lobbyists that fund the GOP are looking at it from a business perspective. They are creating jobs to manufacture products to sell to the middle east and simultaneously, in a stroke of foresight, also creating jobs to spread peace and freedom. It will be quite a few peace and freedom jobs too, by the way.
During the 2007 surge in Iraq, there were 160,000 military contractors iv of which about 12o,000 were Iraqi and another 10 – 20,000 were from other countries v. I’m sure that Mr. Trump will Put America First and double the number of US contractors from an average of 25,000 to about 50,000. Also, that does not include an average of about 10,000 private armed security contractors vi, which were some of the best jobs available in Iraq. And you can double those too because we will be delivering peace and freedom to Syria as well. Not only did they pay well, but those contractors really saved on expenses like legal fees because of the complete legal immunity they were granted by Paul Wolfowitz. That pushes the number up to 370,000 military jobs before we even get to the jobs that will be created back in the USA.
DL: Didn’t the US already deliver peace and freedom to Iraq?
MH: Hey, when you have a great product, you have to expect repeat customers. Speaking of customers, this will create a new set of customers back home as well.
DL: What do you mean by that?
MH: Back home, for example, from every new surge in military operations, we can also expect a surge in employment. A Congressional Research Service report vii of the casualties from our military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria between 2001 – 2015 shows that there were about 6,900 killed, 52,000 wounded, 177,000 diagnosed with PTSD, and 330,000 who had traumatic brain injuries. Forbes reported that there were over 1 million injuries back in 2013 from these military operations viii. Do you realize how many jobs that will create?
That will result in thousands of additional doctors, nurses, home health aides, mental health, and social workers that will be needed as a direct result of these peace and freedom deliveries that are a direct result of Trump’s Saudi deal. Of course, since we don’t really fund mental health care and thousands of mentally ill people, including veterans, end up in prison due to mental illness, we can also expect hundreds of jobs to be created in prisons as well.
DL: Wait a minute, you said customers, but won’t these jobs be serving patients coming back from the war?
MH: Of course. We all know that a patient is just a fancy name for a healthcare customer.
DL: So, I guess Trump is really priming the pump for healthcare jobs then, right?
MH: There you go! Spoken like a GOP insider business intelligence analyst!
MH: There you go! Spoken like a GOP insider business intelligence analyst!
I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the economic boost from fallen freedom delivery personnel. We won’t see many new jobs created, but it will increase both the workload and pay for everyone in the field: morticians, casket makers, grave diggers, etc. We won’t count the funerary jobs because it will be under 10,000, but I thought that they did deserve an honorable mention. These peace and freedom deliveries will provide plenty of new jobs back home. I would ballpark an estimate of an additional 130,000 healthcare related jobs, including the new prison guards. That brings us up to 500,000 new military and military-supporting jobs.”
DL: Yes, but isn’t Trump funding for the VA in his new budget proposal?
MH: Yes, and my sources within the Republican establishment say that is to allow the private sector to create cost efficiencies.
DL: So, 300,000 jobs to respond to climate change
MH: The Republican leaders are calling it weather patterns.
DL: Yes, but the climate is long term weather patterns.
MH: Well, they have a hard time being able to tell the difference between climate and weather. Anyway, 300,000 weather jobs. . . . You were counting?
DL: Yes, 300,000 climate-weather jobs; 300,000 military jobs plus 70,000 extra civilian contractors when we officially go to war ISIS; and 130,000 new jobs taking care of all the wounded and killed soldiers when they return home. Still, 800,000 is quite shy of a million, let alone the multiple millions Trump tweeted about.
MH: Oh, I haven’t mentioned all the equipment manufacturing and logistical support that will be required to support the war with ISIS. That will require new rifles, uniforms, many tons of ammunition, new military vehicles and ships, and on and on. This will be a huge job creator. We can ballpark that at 100,000 jobs, easily.
DL: OK, but that still only takes us to 200,000 new climate-related jobs and 700,000 new military related jobs for only 900,000 jobs.
MH: That’s because we haven’t fully discussed the export of Wahabi Islam. By artificially propping up the Saudi regime, we are, in fact subsidizing Wahabism. This is the extremist faction that has spawned all the Islamic fundamentalist terror groups throughout the world ix. That includes the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda, and more current iterations like ISIS.
DL: All of them?
MH: Yes, all of them.
This violent version of Islam is now also dominant throughout the developing world. Just as Wahabism was exported from Saudi Arabia to other parts of the world, that ideology is now being exported from places like Indonesia, with 257 million people, to the southern portion of the Philippines where they are attempting to set up a South Asian caliphate. That influence is being seen throughout the region. There are regular bombings in the south of Thailand (a long-time US ally) 1, where the majority of the population is Muslim and is being increasingly indoctrinated into Wahabism x. It is influencing Malaysia’s government xi, which has seen a sharp turn toward Islamism xii in recent years 2. Once we put boots on the ground to battle ISIS, it will be heard as a call to arms throughout the Wahabi-dominated part of the Muslim world.
DL: That sounds bad.
MH: Not if you look at it in terms of job creation. Because of the geographic size, we can project about 1 ½ times the military force needed to bring peace and freedom to Southeast Asia as peace and freedom delivery personnel. That’s 900,000 additional jobs.
DL: OK. So, 300,000 jobs for sea level rise; 700,000 for the next war –
MH: Wait – Republican leaders will insist that we call these peace and freedom delivery jobs.
DL: Can we compromise and call them camouflage jobs? You can tell your Republican informants that we will report them as peace and freedom delivery jobs camouflaged as military jobs?
MH: You and I can compromise, sure. I’m pretty sure the Republicans in Washington will refuse to compromise, though. And you can write the story however you want. I’m just here to provide you facts and explanation that I have culled from my sources inside Washington.
DL: Fair enough. So, 300,000 climate change jobs
MH: Um, the Republicans want to call them weather jobs.
DL: Well, if they can’t tell the difference between climate and weather, why should anyone care how people label it?
MH: Fair enough. It’s their talking point, not mine.
MH: Fair enough. It’s their talking point, not mine.
DL: So, 30o,ooo climate jobs; 700,000 camouflage jobs in the middle east, and another 900,000 camouflage jobs in Southeast Asia. That’s still only 1.8 million – well shy of the millions – plural, that were claimed.
MH: That’s because we haven’t fully looked at the global demand for peace and freedom around the world. After the Middle East and Southeast Asia, we will also be forced to deliver peace and freedom to countries like Pakistan. The US will also have to send large peacekeeping forces to nations like India as the Wahabi inspired terrorists take action against interests of the US and our allies around the world. So, that 700,000 can easily be tripled for the other wars that will be caused around the world, and those all come from the continuing support that leaders like Mr. Trump give to the Saudis.
That’s 300,000 weather jobs as temperatures rise; and then the peace and freedom delivery personnel jobs: 700,000 in the Middle East; 900,000 in Southeast Asia; and another 2.1 million in India and Pakistan. That’s at least 3.7 million new jobs all from this one trade deal. Say what you will, but that is a job creating engine running all 8 cylinders with the pedal to the floor.
DL: OK, you made your point. There will be millions of jobs as a result of this deal. So, besides all the people who are going to die, are there any real downsides?
MH: There is one slight downside. While we are busy spending billions dealing with all the militant Wahabi terrorists, supporters of strongmen like Duterte in the Philippines see no ethical difference between an untested strongman like Trump and an old strongman like Putin. So, Russia, having a track record to judge from, will easily peel away several of our allies and bring them into his orbit. That’s actually a good thing though because it will free up some of our foreign aid budget to places like the Phillipines. We can then redirect that money into the military to fight Wahabi terrorists.
DL: OK, but all those jobs are going to be created from catastrophes and wars that could easily be avoided. Is it really fair to count these as new jobs when they are created an arguably immoral policy?
At this point, Mr. Hickle’s expression changed from one of disinterested extrapolation to a grim seriousness. He finished the interview with these final words.
“I was not contacted for this interview to pass judgment on the jobs created,” he said, “but only for a strategic business analysis of Trump’s statement that millions of jobs will be created from the Saudi deal. Yes, most of these jobs will involve death and destruction and funneling massive amounts of our nation’s blood and treasure into unnecessary wars – no doubt about that.”
“Are those the kind of jobs that American’s want? Do they reflect our values as a people?” Hickle wondered aloud. “Well, you may want to consult with an ethics specialist about that - or your congresspeople. That is also a question that Americans need to seriously ask themselves.”
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1 This is based on reports that I have heard as an expat in Thailand for the last 3 years. I was a guest lecturer for a teacher’s seminar at a technical college in Yala 2 years ago. The violence is bad enough that I was told not to leave the hotel room at night. Our hosts gave us their personal phone numbers and said that they would drive to the hotel and drive us to the 7-11, less than 200 meters away, if we wanted anything. They emphasized this by saying they didn’t care if it was 1:00 AM, that we were still to call them and not walk ourselves. The violence is such a problem that they even told us initially that the college was located in the next district instead of Yala (it is very close to the district border) as a way of avoiding the violent stigma of the district.
2 The author can personally attest to this increasing fundamentalism. On a trip to Penang a few years ago, I personally witnessed a young man openly preaching jihad just outside a mall, and he had a few people listening to him. The force of extremism is growing.