A major Greek ship owner, whose political knowledge matches his wealth and business acumen, explained to me what the Qatar brouhaha is all about. My friend Peter had the foresight to invest in liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, among the most expensive of ships to build but big-time money-makers. Why is it that it takes a major ship owner to tell us what’s really going on? Forget the bull put out by American hacks, whose minds no longer seem to function — at least since Trump’s triumph last November.
Here goes: we sat on my terrace in Gstaad under the stars, watched the mountains turn from grey to dark blue, drank some good red wine, and I got the scoop. The first to ring the Donald after the election was the ruler of Saudi Arabia. (This column will dispense with obsequious titles, because the camel-drivers created them and awarded them to themselves 85 years ago.) Trump was blunt with the Saudi ruler. ‘I’ll help you with Iran only if you help me sell American LNG and oil to China, and there’s only one way to do that.’ ‘Which is?’ asked the ruler. ‘Stop Qatar from selling their LNG to the Chinese — and while you’re at it, both of you stop funding terrorists, or else.’
Not bad for a so-called blundering fool of a president. This is exactly what happened. The Saudis, who had had it up to here with the crummy Qataris playing everyone, gave them the ultimatum and now you know about as much as the powers involved do. The Qataris will obviously give in — they’re not exactly known as fighters, except when beating up defenceless women or foreign workers — and the Saudis, who tremble at the sight of an Iranian, will declare a Marathon-like victory. But it’s Trump, whom the left regards as a chump, who actually made chumps out of all of them and will be selling the Chinese American liquefied natural gas so that they will stop burning down the planet with their foul belching factories.
These are political victories that only a few insiders know about, mostly because the news has become not only fake, but also so trite and hackneyed that it’s a miracle anyone still wants to be a journalist. Trump seems to have won big down in Saudi because he was always anti-Iran, a position I’m totally opposed to. He killed two birds with one shitty shot. He sold billions worth of planes and rockets to Saudi, and got it to force Qatar to stop selling LNG to China. The Saudis can do nothing with the advanced killer weapons. Even with pinpoint technology that can take out a target to within inches, they cannot hit the side of a barn. In Yemen, tens of thousands have died because the Saudis are too scared to get close to the action, firing instead on schools and hospitals in order to create panic, then calling them military targets. The Saudis lie even more than the New York Times, and that’s really saying something. So don’t take this Mohammed bin Salman seriously. He speaks not a word of English and is brash and full of himself. For two years he has failed to win a single battle against sandal-wearing peasants in Yemen, but has killed a lot of innocents. If this guy is a saviour, I am Alexander the Great.
And while I’m at it, if you have trouble sleeping, don’t, I repeat don’t, buy any sleeping pills. Get the New York Times (international) instead. I have never in my long life seen a worse paper. Five full pages about a male American soldier who turned traitor, got 30 years, then became a woman and was pardoned. If this is interesting journalism, I am Mark Twain and Papa Hemingway rolled into one. The rag also got one in against the Brits, with a front-page story ‘Did Politics of Race Fuel Tower Fire?’ Yeah, right, it was ‘a clear class element’ that burnt all those people alive.
What I don’t understand is who would buy such a rag in a country like Britain where there are so many lively newspapers that don’t invent news to suit their politics. Let’s make sure it sells not a single copy; perhaps then it will return to the place it came from. Otherwise things are really hunky-dory. This week will be a big one in London, and a grand ball in the country beckons at the weekend. The week after next is The Spectator’s party, where I hope to become engaged to Olga, a Stakhanovite star of Russia Today. If she says yes, a little bird has told me that Vladimir Putin himself will be our best man. I know, I am putting the cart before the horse, as they say back on the farm I don’t come from, but what the hell; a man can dream, can’t he?
Finally, Professor Stephen Hawking says we must start evacuating the Earth within 100 years. The professor must be taking the kind of stuff that sent me away to the big house 35 years ago.