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Afghanistan, Iraq ... Saudi Arabia
by Brian S. Wise
26 November 2002 

Democrats aren’t right about much, but they’re correct when they point out the Bush doctrine on terrorism (“You’re either with us or against us”) cannot have teeth so long as basically terrorist States such as Saudi Arabia are given a free pass based on the amount of oil they sell the United States.

Six days ago in this space, the SUV was publicly supported using a very popular conservative philosophy: capitalism only serves its fullest and grandest purpose when supply and demand are left alone to work their magic. It was also rather plainly stated that although capitalism is preferable to any other economic theory in the world, it shouldn’t be upheld to such an extent that oil producing Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, shouldn’t be able to hold America under their thumbs, and so not only must alternative fuels be researched and developed at a rate to impress, but fuel efficiency standards are going to have to be raised.

Someone perusing the responses I received without knowing the topic could have sworn I’d advocated public puppy executions. More than a few people wrote in to say the following things, to one degree or the other: 1) It’s not nice to tell people to “shut up,” as I did to whiney environmentalists and lesser Republicans. 2) If higher fuel efficiency standards are forced onto SUV manufacturers, SUV body frames would be made lighter, and therefore more people may be put in danger during accidents (a point I didn’t disagree with, but begged off as a matter of freeing ourselves from the Saudis). 3) SUV’s and porn movies are equally offensive. (No word on whether or not your author is Evil for finding no particular offense in either, although some sort of limp-wristed, overly emotional conservative consensus on the matter will surely arrive shortly.)

Democrats aren’t right about much, but they’re correct when they point out the Bush doctrine on terrorism (“You’re either with us or against us”) cannot have teeth so long as basically terrorist States are given a free pass based on the amount of oil they sell the United States, and whether or not the Right as a whole warms to the idea, Saudi Arabia is such a country, and should be dealt with.

Let’s assume Iraq is, at some point in the near future, going to slip and America will have to force its hand. So we’re at war, then what? One hopes that any attack strategy will include immediate takeover of Iraqi oil fields, as to not only avoid the sorts of fires set at the conclusion of the Gulf War, but to attempt to force some stability onto an oil market whose prices will explode upward as war looms and commences. (Whether or not the latter strategy will work in regards to the oil market is, of course, a slippery subject, but at least we can prevent more oil fires, which everyone can see as positive.) Given that oil fields will be secured and that the war will be won quickly, it’s likely that by this time next year, following some long overdue investment in the Iraqi equipment, output can be as much as quadrupled. And in the spirit of cooperation, the United States would be a direct recipient of production increases.

What then becomes of Saudi Arabia? A proper conservative hope is that its days of bending America over an oil barrel will be over, and that it can finally be taken for the terrorist nation we know it to be. Which means what, exactly? Opinions vary. My hope is that all but the strictest diplomatic ties with the Saudis will be cut, and America’s purchasing of Saudi oil will stop entirely, putting on notice the nation that produced 15 of the 19 hijackers that it’s not our friend, and will no longer be considered such.

The current mess over whatever became of Princess Haifa al-Faisal’s money ($2,000 a month she was sending to a Saudi woman here in the States for “medical treatment”) outlines the inability of the United States to trust Saudi Arabia in the general sense. Even if the Princess herself had no direct input as to what funds may or may not have been forwarded to terrorist- friendly people or organizations, the discrepancy speaks directly to an ideology stemming from a country we can no longer trust, or pay credence.

Ari Fleischer said yesterday President Bush believes Saudi Arabia is an ally in the “war on terrorism.” He cannot possibly, but if he does, he ought to strongly reconsider. The Iraqi war allows us the opportunity to not only free a people deserving autonomy of movement and speech, it allows the United States a previously unimaginable chance to get away from a force that wishes nothing more than to sell us its goods with one hand while hitting us with the other.

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