Saturday, January 24, 2015
Republican Hypocrisy and Saudi Arabia
The king is dead. Long live the king.
The question is, will King Salman be a "moderate" and move slowly toward change in the manner of his predecessor, or will he, god forbid, bow to the Imams and move backward toward the 16th century?
Saudi Arabia is an absolute dictatorship. The people have no say in the government. It is also a religious dictatorship. Try to establish a Roman Catholic or Protestant church in S.A. Better yet, try to build a synagogue within its borders. It is an Islamic state. It's not ISIS but the difference is one of substance not of kind. Saudi Arabia is not quite as brutal as ISIS or other Islamic countries, but you can still get you hand or your head cut off for certain violations of Islamic law and you can spend a number of years in prison if you are a woman and dare to put the pedal to the medal in one of the king's Mercedes.
As has long been standard practice in the United States, we have no problem with dictatorships so long as the dictators are our dictators. Latin America provides numerous examples of such a policy. Take Cuba, for example. We had no problem with Batista who was a dictatorial terror, but he followed the lead of the U.S. when we wanted him to. Then came Castro. We supported Castro initially, but when it turned out he leaned toward Marxism, we threw him overboard, waged war against him, tried to assassinate him and treated him as a pariah for over 50 years!
President Obama is heading to Saudi Arabia to kiss the king's behind - er, show the king respect. It's not that he supports the system of government in Saudi Arabia, it's that Saudi Arabia is important to our interests in the Middle East and have been helpful to us on any number of occasions. We want to ensure that King Salman remains our king!
You may recall the recent outcry raised by our nogoodnik Republican leaders when Mr. Obama took the initiative to build a new relationship with the Cuban government, one which might prove beneficial to both countries. There was a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth on the part of the Republican poobahs because, my god, Cuba is a Communist and godless country! We can't, we must not, have anything to do with Cuba. Well, we could blow up the country or at least the Castro brothers, but mutual tolerance and respect and perhaps even some trade and travel between the two countries? That's just asking too much for our freedom-loving, dictator-hating, non-Commie Republicans in Congress.
There is no question that our foreign policy is often hypocritical. We've been known to sleep with the devil if we thought it would promote whatever it was we wanted promoted at the moment. Saddam Hussein was one of our boys. Hell, so was Osama bin Laden at one time!
The problem with this is it makes any effort on the part of the U.S. to execute policy from a moral perspective highly suspect. Nobody believes we're better than the rest of the world. Well, except for Steve King in Iowa, and Ted Cruz in Texas, and Louis Gohmert in Texas, but they are idiots. We have and will continue to operate in such a manner as to reach whatever goals we have set for our country, and morality be damned.
Thus, the CIA renders people to countries controlled by persons friendly to us in order to engage in a little torture, which, although such a thing is forbidden by the Geneva Convention, is heartily endorsed by the leaders of the U.S. At least that used to be the case. And one of the main
promoters of torture ("I'd do it again," Cheney) thinks it's just wonderful that we can violate our Constitution, our conscience and our pretense of moral superiority in this way.
But, omigod! Obama is making noises about treating Cuba with a certain amount of respect! We can't do that! We are a god-fearing, Jesus-loving nation and we know god and Jesus hate Commies and want us to bomb them into oblivion. We certainly cannot allow an exchange of goods or travel between the two countries. What will people think?
So say the Republicans. We can, however, kiss the asses of every king and prince in Saudi Arabia in spite of the fact the country is a miserable Islamic dictatorship which allows absolutely no dissent from what the Royals decree. Anything other than absolute obedience is met with state-sanctioned violence.
Of course, the Saudis control a lot of oil. Furthermore, the Bush family and other political types down through the years have become close as spit with the Saudi royal family. You do remember immediately after 9/11, Bush the Younger had all the Saudis in this country rounded up and flown home before the FBI or anyone else could question them. Did Bush know something the rest of us didn't? That was certainly a suspect move, considering most of the terrorists on 9/11 were Saudi Arabians! We must not forget, either, that the Saudis own much of this country's real estate. In fact, the exact amount of what they own is unknown. That's called leverage.
Nothing will change anytime soon. We'll continue in our hypocritical ways, but perhaps these nogoodnik Republicans could shut their damn mouths!