Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bush Arrives in Saudi Arabia Bearing Gifts

So, while on his recent trip to the Middle East, President Bush stopped in Saudi Arabia to meet with their leaders, and present them with an offer of a $20 billion arms agreement. The Administration says that this is to bolster Saudi Arabia's defenses to deter Iran. It's a good thing that we're protecting them from a country that's a dictatorial theocracy where opposition is suppressed, people are oppressed, and there are virtually no freedoms. Oh wait, not only does that describe the country that we're defending them from, but also the one we're protecting!

In another blast of irony, Bush spent a large part of this trip promoting democracy and freedom in the Middle East. Its clear that making a $20 billion arms deal with 0ne of the worlds' least democratic countries is a great way of promoting that policy. But perhaps Preside t Bush doesn't want democracy in Saudi Arabia - both Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Osama bin Laden are more popular among the citizenry than he is.

This is another great example of short-sighted foreign policy - give weapons to people who are our friends now, and can easily be our enemies later. At least if we have to fight them later on, we'll know what equipment we're up against.

1 comment:

Molvanian Ambassador said...

I'm not sure this can really be called a short-term or even one unique to President Bush. The United States' main interests in the Middle East right now have been to disrupt Al Qaeda attempts to plan and execute another attack on the U.S. proper, and prevent any country from becoming a hegemonic power - right now that potential hegemon is Iran. Along that logic, keeping Sunni and anti-AQ (to some degree) Saudi Arabia armed makes sense. Still, it's not as if the U.S. hasn't mulled a reshaping of the Middle East that includes a little regime change and territory redistribution in SA.

The democratization issue is a lot murkier. Any U.S. administration would be happier if Saudi Arabia - or any Middle Eastern country for that matter - had a better system for dealing with the social, ideological, and political tensions currently active in the region besides the current autocracy.