The Christian Science Monitor

Moral authority or national interest? Senate weighs both in Saudi relations.

Sen. Jeff Flake, (R) of Arizona, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speaks with reporters as senators are considering multiple pieces of legislation in an effort to formally rebuke Saudi Arabia for the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 6, 2018. Source: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Can the United States exercise its moral authority in foreign policy without giving its vital national interests short shrift?

That question has permeated much of the debate in Congress in recent days over US relations with longtime ally Saudi Arabia.

To a degree not seen in decades, senators of both parties have asserted the importance of factoring in America’s long-held values and global role as moral guide as they wrestle with two key questions: How to address the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and how involved the US should be in the Saudi intervention in the Yemen conflict.

The United Nations has deemed war-torn Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, and indignation in the US has mounted with evidence of US-supplied munitions hitting civilian targets in Saudi Arabia’s air offensive.

The Senate on Thursday adopted a war powers resolution that would require the Trump administration to end

Would congressional pressure work?Friendly advice

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