Saturday, December 28, 2002

Via Binkley whose editorial stance I don't agree with, Frontpage magazine's article on Saudi steps to acquire nuclear weapons.

A willingness to talk about the problems in Saudi Arabia seems to be seen on the right more than the left, though not in the Bush wing of the party. Dean Esmay of Dean's World says he first started seeing it on left wing sites, and doesn't see it the way I do.

I can actually see a semi legitimate reason why Bush wouldn't want to talk about it. What if criticism of the Saudi government increases anti American feelings in Saudi Arabia, and makes the situation of the government more precarious? Just possibly he has a good reason for not discussing the problem publically, but I think the rest of us have to, even though the Saudi's get upset by unfavorable coverage in the press too.

There have been many important - and some silly - things said about the role of poverty in contributing to terrorism. Now let's talk about what circumstances make wealth contribute to terrorism. One of the unique things about the Saudi problem is that many rich people seem to be acting directly contrary to their own interests, and contributing to forces which denounce the government that protects them, forces which would almost certainly be less favorable to their richest supporters if they actually obtained power. Many of them seem to be people who did nothing to create their own wealth, and do little to preserve and maintain it. Perhaps this contributes to a desire to give their lives purpose. Unfortunately this desire seems to take a misguided form in some.

Change must come from within, and I think many Saudi's are aware of this. As the Saudi welfare state is collapsing, many who are forced to work will eventually come to take pride in their own achievements. Perhaps the rest of the world can help - although it would be easier if we had an Organization of Oil Importing Nations which could act to reduce our dependence on imported oil when a nudge in the right direction was necessary.

Meanwhile, there's plenty of ugly hate to be found on the Blogosphere. Fair enough - only censorship keeps some of them from saying the same things about us. All the same, perhaps we would be better advised to understand the problem, and see what if anything we can contribute to the solution, and failing that what we can do to insulate ourselves from the consequences.

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