Just imagine how the lines on the map would look if we believed in what we said we believed in?
The United States of America had more ideological common ground with the Soviet Freaking Union than it does with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
And yet, we’re allies.
We value freedom of speech; they imprison journalists who criticize the government. We value freedom of religion; they impose a strict, narrow-banded version of a religion on their people. We seek equality for all; they subjugate and demean women in every imaginable way. They’re ruled by a king, we fought to overthrow a king. We merit ingenuity and hard work; they value hereditary privilege and tribal affiliation.
This all goes along with the basic fact that Saudi Arabia has, both directly and indirectly, been responsible for spreading the most heinous, disgusting acts of violence and terrorism in the world for the last half century. While quick to diminish the fact that 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi, the Saudi government has failed to accept that Osama Bin Laden, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and all the leaders and followers between them merely took the Saudi-sponsored Wahhabist version of Islam to its logical conclusion. Even if not directly responsible as it is in Yemen, the Saudi government fosters an environment for growing the future’s aspiring young terrorists.
When you believe in an idea, such as freedom of speech is good, the natural tendency is to spread such ideas. In essence, to show our faith by what we do. Soviet communists did this; they sought to inspire extreme-socialist revolts in places like Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, China, Poland, and so forth. And if you believe in justice, then it follows naturally that you would want justice for all, not only those under your flag. After all, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Jamal Khashoggi, for the unaware, was a journalist for the Washington Post, a permanent resident of the United States, and a citizen of Saudi Arabia. He was engaged to be married to a Turkish woman, and needed some documents from his country’s consulate in Turkey. He never came out. Rather, he was murdered by a hit squad of some seventeen Saudi operatives with a bone saw. Since then, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia’s story has changed more often than the weather in Oklahoma.
The murder of Khashoggi has exposed more than the Saudi regime for the oppressive, brutal dictatorship everyone knew it was; it has revealed a savage American hypocracy. That is, among that which we esteem to be greater than freedom, greater than justice, greater than those values that belie the very fabric of our nation, is the love of money. And to my fellow liberals who like to paint Donald Trump as the demon scapegoat here, where were you during the sixteen years when Clinton and Obama cozied up to the Saudi Royal Family?
This murder shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. This is exactly what the government of Saudi Arabia does. Has been doing for decades. It’s odd that the United States should have a working relationship with the Saudi Royal family. We’re not just ideologically different; we’re polar opposites.
I mean, seriously, we buy oil; they sell oil. We have nothing in common.
Michael Patrick Lewis is a teacher, and bestselling author of Preferred Rewards. Check out my newest book, A Dance to Remember, a gripping tragic romance. You can also find him on Twitter @fakeMikeLewis.