POLITICS
15/04/2018 12:01 SAST | Updated 15/04/2018 12:01 SAST

Joy Reid Mocks America's Invisible Man In The Middle East: 'Where's Jared?'

In wake of the Syria strike, an MSNBC panel says the U.S. has a “diplomatic vacuum” in the region.

Americans haven't heard a peep from Jared Kushner, whom President Donald Trump tapped to be his point man on Middle East peace. His disappearing act is now particularly remarkable in the wake of U.S. military action in Syria.

"Where is Jared?" host Joy Reid mockingly asked Saturday on MSNBC's "AM Joy." "Jared's job was to solve all the Middle East problems. He's besties with the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. He's pitching loan ideas to Qatar."

"Who cares?" shot back panellist and national security expert Malcolm Nance, adding that Kushner is "not a player." Even more troubling, Nance said, is America's barely-there Middle East diplomacy resources.

"We don't have an ambassador in Egypt, in Saudi Arabia, in Qatar, three of the strongest American allies in the region," MSNBC host Ayman Mohyeldin pointed out. "In addition to ... that we do not have a secretary of state. So you don't even have the diplomatic foot soldiers who are waking up in capitals of Arab cities today and saying to the governments, 'Here are the next steps. Here's what we need from you, here's what we can offer to you to get on board with this.'"

There's a "diplomatic vacuum," he added. "You're asking what happens in terms of the message we're sending? We're not sending any messages."

Nance said America's default diplomats are Defense Secretary James Mattis and his department. "They are actually speaking and doing diplomacy with a hammer. And if that's the case, then we're going to be fighting these wars a very long time," he warned.

Trump put Kushner in charge of Middle East peace right from the start of his presidency. "If you can't produce Middle East peace, nobody can," Trump said to him on the eve of his inauguration.

Kushner was stripped of his top security clearance in February amid continuing entanglements between governments and his business interests.

In 2017, Kushner's father pressed the Qatari finance minister for an investment in a troubled Kushner Companies property. Weeks after Charles Kushner was turned down, Jared Kushner backed a puzzling, controversial blockade of Qatar initiated by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Kushner has also been criticized for his close personal ties with Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has reportedly boasted to friends that he has the president's son-in-law "in his pocket." And shortly before Kushner's first diplomatic mission to Israel last year, an Israeli insurer invested some $30 million in the Kushner company.

Check out what else Reid's panel had to say about the Syria strikes and regional diplomacy. The discussion about the lack of diplomatic resources in the region and Kushner's vanishing act begins at 3:50.