We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Friday, October 12, 2018

The steady deteriorating relations between the USA and Saudi Arabia

by Ron Horn

I don't believe we should ignore the effects of the recent assassination of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. It may very well contribute significantly to the steady decline of relations between the US Empire and the feudal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the peril of both.

The ruling capitalist class of the USA and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) have long colluded with each other to protect each others interests: first in 1945, when FDR wanted USA's access to the richest oil deposits in the world; and the second iteration happened around 1974 with Kissinger's secret agreement with the King to effectively use the kingdom's oil to back the threatened dollar that had recently gone off the gold standard. Tyler Durden in 2016 provided an excellent summary of this sordid, mafia-like history

I've viewed with curiosity some of the recent statements by Trump which were critical of the Kingdom. Being a crass businessman, Trump in his blunt style only voiced what other ruling class figures, steeped in the skills of diplomacy, thought and said privately but wouldn't say publicly. Still, Mohammad bin Salman, the effective ruler of KSA (until the aging king dies), likely took his blunt remarks as deep insults (as is his style), and retaliated by killing one of Saudi Arabia's journalist-critics.

Thus, you should read this, this, this, this, and this to become informed about this potential historic pivot in relations between the two countries. On the other hand, Bernhard, expert geopolitical analyst at the Moon of Alabama, thinks because the alliance is of such importance to both countries the news of the incident will quickly disappear from the media and the conflicts will be handled secretly.
Deals will be made and the case will be buried. If the deals are good enough, several dozen billions will be required, the U.S. might even allow Mohammad bin Salman to stay in his position.
But [the aging elder] King Salman, or some Saudi citizens, may well find that the various crazy endeavors MbS tends to launch - the war on Yemen, the Qatar blockade, the Khashoggi assassination - are becoming way too costly for the country. A simple unlucky home accident could solve that problem.
I'm not so sure. In any case, it is important that you know about this sordid history.