(And don’t forget Iran!)
Interpreting holy Muslim texts literally was made a capital crime under Saladin, eight centuries ago. (Meanwhile Iran and the Baghdad Caliphate had long ignored Literal Islam; however, they would fall to the Mongols shortly after.)
Wahhabism revived the literal reading, thus giving the Saudis the moral pretext and the fanaticism they needed to take control of Arabia. In 1945, the government of the USA concluded an alliance with Ibn Saud. Not because the USA needed it to survive: the USA was the world’s largest oil producer. The accord with the Saudis enabled American oil men to make huge profits, while the government of the USA enjoyed controlling most of the world’s oil.
Saudi Arabia had a good weekend: it executed 47 “terrorists”, including a prominent opponent, Shia cleric. Yes forty-seven.
This comes a few days after Iranian rockets landing within 1,500 meters of French and American warships in international water. Some Iranian officials claim that should be seen as a “warning”. Considering the USA bent over backwards for the accord with Iran, and France was skeptical, this is rather curious.
The cleric was “legally” assassinated for (verbal) offenses that included “breaking allegiance with the ruler” and “inciting sectarian strife.” Who made this “ruler” a ruler? Some horrendous war, less than a century ago, when the Saudi family stole most of Arabia, for its own exclusive enjoyment. Nothing said that plutocrats cannot capture entire countries. In Saudi Arabia, justice itself is intrinsically unjust, it’s just an “allegiance to the ruler”..
The Saudi and Iranian plutocracies, hiding behind god’s orders, know what they are doing: if they execute contradictors, they will be contradicted less, as potential contradictors will not look forward arrest, abuse, torture and execution, after being “judged” to be horrendous people.
The New York Times Editorial Board editorial could not resist to strike the usual compromised moral stance in “Saudi Arabia’s Barbaric Executions“. In that otherwise pretty good opinion piece, it squeaks that: “The tangled and volatile realities of the Middle East do not give the United States or the European Union the luxury of choosing or rejecting allies on moral criteria.”
Questions: 1) so are we going to choose or reject allies on which criteria? Greed only? This was tried with the Third Reich before. It made the Nazis’ Reich ever more aggressive, and strong.
Not entering morality in economics enables evil, so we become accomplices of it. The foundation of the Republic is moral. What others are doing (outside of the USA, Europe, and our close allies) is none of our business, however, our purchasing of Saudi oil makes their business our business.
2) who has no choice? With oil and gas lower than in a very long time, why do we need their oil? Who are the barbarians going to sell their black oil to? Russia? A direct oil embargo on Middle East oil would barely inconvenience us, but it would make it much harder for those who violate human rights. Indeed the world oil price would barely move, but the profits the human right violators make on it would collapse (they would have to use circuitous routes, and maybe the Black Market, if enough countries followed the West’s lead).
So what are we waiting for? Imperialism in the name of morality is a bad thing, but imperial morality is the only strategy for survival. As long as said morality is the best that can be devised.
What’s the best? Human ethology, including gender equality, what regimes such as the one in Saudi Arabia are firmly determined to destroy: see the all-out war of the Saudis against Sweden to defend their right to violate human rights, especially those of women.
Rhodesia, South Africa were embargoed for apartheid. The embargoes were highly successful.
Saudi Arabia certainly applies apartheid against females. So doing, it made its entire society not just unfair, but stupid (women instruct children until age 7 or so, traditionally). Now stupidity brings forth aggressivity. So Saudi sexism is a question which impugns upon the security of the West. And, indeed, Saudi Arabia has financed many terrorist networks over the last few decades, when not causing wars outright.
This little planet has room for only one morality, the one which insures humanity’s sustainability. That’s not imperialism, that’s reality.