Myth of Saudi Importance

( Joel Mowbray - What should dictate our approach to the Saudis is that they need us to buy their oil just as much as we need them to sell it to us. Not just now, but also in the future. Yet conventional wisdom among self-appointed foreign policy experts ignores this basic reality, and as a result, Saudi Arabia holds the diplomatic catbird seat, enjoying perks available to few, if any, other nations. While the Saudis obviously would like sky-high oil prices, the reality is that long-term considerations place the ceiling substantially lower. So if the Saudis face market pressures that force them to keep oil prices in check, why does the U.S. State Department go to tragic-comic lengths to keep them happy? In late 2001, after State discovered that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis—and that all of them had submitted applications that never should have been approved under the law—it sent out a press release saying that the U.S. had “not changed its procedures or policies in determining visa eligibility as a result of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.” Sadly, State was telling the truth. And to this day, that pledge still largely holds true.

2004-08-24 00:00:00

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