Civil Discourse Now

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Saudi Arabia has assumed a chilly stance toward the United States.

   Saudi Arabia has long been seen as an ally of the United States. This is a general concept embraced in various columns and articles. United States military forces were allowed to stage actions on the peninsula for the 1991 Gulf War. This apparently upset Osama bin Laden. He was aghast that the holy ground of the peninsula upon which his religion was born should be touched by the combat boots of infidels.

   A lot of people in this country do not realize "Saudi Arabia" means Arabia of the House of Saud, the family that took the country by military force in the 1920s. Therefore, to call the country Saudi Arabia is to acknowledge the conquest of the country by members and allies of one family.

   Arabia is not friendly to democratic principles, or equality by gender or other gauges. Decapitation is the favored method of meting out the death penalty. Women are not allowed to drive cars. Everyone must submit to the King. If you have seen those fancy yachts (as opposed to unadorned or plain yachts) docked on the Riviera during the Cannes Film Festival that are said to be owned by Saudi billionaires, those billionaires obtained their wealth by inheritance and via the oil pumped from the ground in Arabia. The royal family owns the country. Thus the sons of that wealth get to play.

   This has bummed out some people in the Kingdom. We cannot know how many people are bummed out, as public demonstrations, in a country where public decapitations for such things as opposition to the government are common, are rare. Arabian people are angry over the way in which the nation's wealth is consolidated in the hands of a few at the same time as unemployment appears to have risen. They are angry about human rights violations. They also are angry that thei holy land is used by infidels like the military personnel of the United States.

   I have a difficult time seeing Saudi Arabia as a pal of this country. Saudi Arabia helped in OPEC's oil embargo in 1973. Also, all but two of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals. The Saudi government did not back those attacks, but neither did I hear of that country trying to root out organizers.

   Most recently Saudi Arabia's leaders have become angry that the United States did not attack Syria militarily. Perhaps this was a force that spurred on President Obama's bellicose stance toward one side in the Syrian civil war. Of course, President Obama has been pretty bellicose. Still, Saudi leaders were so angry they gave a "pass" on a seat on the UN Security Council and stated they would re-assess their views toward the United States.

   When did we become the military go-fers for Saudi Arabia? The United States debt has grown, in large measure, because of military spending. Our invasion of Iraq, as one example, was tremendously expensive and fought for no legitimate reason. We have a dozen aircraft carriers when the second largest fleet of such vessels in the World is---one aircraft carrier.

   We should engage in diplomatic relations with countries. We should not capitulate to them. Saudis have invested a lot of money in the United States, with the purchase of land. A United States citizen cannot purchase land in Saudi Arabia. Why should we allow the Saudis, or any other foreign nationals, to place themselves in a position from which they can exercise leverage over our government far more capably than the average voter?

   We should re-assess our own position toward Saudi Arabia. I still am galled by the image of President George W. Bush, on the night of the 9/11 attacks, standing on the balcony of the White House, holding hands with a Saudi leader, and assuring him members of the bin Laden family---who had no part in the 9/11 attacks---would be unimpeded in their egress from the United States. United States citizens could not fly in United States skies for a week, but Saudi nationals could, as they had when they flew the planes into those buildings.

  

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