That would be my view for certain. Cato Institute’s Doug Bandow has a somewhat less harsh attitude toward this repressive, militant desert kingdom, but not by much.
Alas, America’s unhappy pampered allies are issuing threats. The Saudi regime reportedly has downgraded ties with the CIA in aiding Syrian rebels and threatened a “major shift” in dealing with America. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius noted that Saudi officials said “they increasingly regarded the U.S. as unreliable and would look elsewhere for their security.” Moreover, the Saudis apparently announced they no longer will favor U.S. munitions makers.
Americans should respond, so what? Washington should encourage the Saudis to find another sucker to protect their exploitative regime. The Chinese? Good luck. How about the Russians? After years of war in Chechnya and terrorist attacks in Russia, helping the publicly pious royals isn’t likely to top Moscow’s list.
The Europeans? They ain’t got much of a military and aren’t likely to use it for a regime so at odds with liberal European values. Who else? Author Christopher Davidson argued that “Saudi Arabia is retreating into its shell of countries that surround it and who rely on its aid and good will.” If so, why should Washington object?
Riyadh could limit intelligence sharing and anti-terrorism cooperation with Washington. However, doing so would increase the royals’ vulnerability. Nor is Riyadh’s refusal to serve on the Security Council a problem for America. As a U.S. diplomat told Foreign Policy blogger Colum Lynch, “Our interests increasingly don’t align.” In fact, the two nations’ interests long have been substantially out of sync.
The Saudis support radical rebels in Syria who may be as interested in killing Americans as in killing Bashar al-Assad’s soldiers. Riyadh was one of the few governments to recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The royals made little effort to curb funding for al-Qaeda until the latter was foolish enough to challenge the House of Saud—for being corrupt, libertine hypocrites.
Admittedly, it isn’t only Saudi Arabia which is upset with the Obama administration’s inconsistent approach to the Middle East’s endless complexities. The United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Turkey, and even Israel have assigned Washington tasks which it has refused to carry out, much to their distress.
However, American policy should be designed to serve the interests of Americans.
Saudi Arabia refuses a seat on the U.N. Security Council.
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