9 thoughts on “America’s Saudi Policy: The Soundtrack

  1. I keep getting an internal server error after I post the link, but it’s supposed to be Andy Rehfeldt’s Radio Disney cover of Death’s “Left to Die.” A sick, sad joke, but entirely appropriate to the moment.


  2. I wonder how Trump fans justify Trump’s hostility to Turkey with his making nice to Saudi Arabia. I mean, Turkey has some serious problems, but by what standard (well, other than “which one has more oil?”) could it remotely be worse than Saudi Arabia?

    Liked by 1 person

    • How do Trump fans justify Trump’s making nice with Saudi Arabia? Well, here’s what Trump’s number 1 fan says:


      As far as he’s concerned, he isn’t making nice with them; he’s granting them the same benefit of a doubt he would grant any defendant in a criminal trial.

      Granted, Saudi Arabia isn’t precisely a defendant in a criminal trial, and never will be. Granted Trump’s called for the execution of people who have been acquitted in trials (the Central Park Five), or at least acquitted of capital crimes (Bowe Bergdahl), and he’s called for the torture of those who have never been tried. Granted that Saudi Arabia is a totalitarian state with a long history of brutality and terror. Granted that the “history” in question includes what it’s doing in Yemen right now. And granted that Trump’s overall approach would get Adolph Hitler off the hook: I mean, when was he ever arrested and put on trial? But that’s how he justifies it.

      Now, if you have no interest whatsoever in consistency, you can compartmentalize the preceding, and just regard Turkey as part of your generalized trade war against the rest of the world, a trade war that you could hardly have with Saudi Arabia:

      And there you go. QED.

      I’ve never been to Turkey, but I’ve been to Pakistan, the West Bank, and Saudi Arabia. If I was forced to live in one of the three places, the one place I would immediately rule out would be Saudi Arabia. I don’t think anyone could call me an apologist for Israel, but if given a choice, I would rather live under the Israeli occupation than under the Saudi monarchy. They both suck, but life under the latter would be a slow, drawn-out suicide. Assuming they didn’t chop you up or crucify you first.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “I’ve never been to Turkey”

        You should definitely visit Istanbul if you get a chance; it’s amazing.

        Of course the u.s. currently lists Turkey as a level 3 “reconsider travel” country: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/turkey-travel-advisory.html

        But I reckon that has more to do with the pissing contest between their lovely president and our lovely president than actual safety concerns. Obviously I wouldn’t recommend traveling near the Syrian border; but Istanbul is about as far from the border as Manhattan is from Pensacola. And France is awarded a better score (a mere “exercise increased caution”) than Turkey despite having had terrorist incidents more recently than Turkey has.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The minute I get the chance, I’m going. When I was single, I actually contemplated moving there.

          I subscribe to the State Department’s so-called “Smart Traveler Enrollment Program” for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. It’s politicized in a blatantly obvious way: it proceeds on the assumption that you the American traveler to “Israel” are Jewish, and only feel threatened by Palestinians; it then ratchets its threat levels up and down according to ups and downs in terrorist incidents by Palestinians.

          Meanwhile, it treats the whole of the Israeli occupation as non-existent and as involving no threat to anyone of interest. In other words, there are literally no advisories sent that would be relevant to American travelers who are not Jewish, living among Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza, and who might potentially be on the receiving end of violence by the Israeli military or Israeli settlers. Thus, there have been no STEP Notifications regarding the violence in Gaza, which began in May, because the assumption is: Gazans deserve to be shot, as would anyone living among them; it makes no sense to report a threat to those on the deserving end of violence, so there’s no need to notify anyone of a threat regarding Gaza.

          So I refuse to take it seriously when it comes to Turkey. I wouldn’t even be all that worried about venturing near the Syrian border (though I wouldn’t cross it). I’ve been to Golan, which is on the Syrian border. Nothing happened to me. Hence I’m inclined to think that nothing would happen to me if I did it again.


          • Now seems a good time to go, as the exchange rate is very favourable (albeit owing to the sad reason that the Turkish government is doing it best to wreck their currency) and Erdoğan has backed off his visa restrictions (a.k.a. his fiendishly clever plot to punish Trump by depriving the Turkish economy of u.s. tourist dollars).


  3. Well, don’t you know, Roderick? These were “rogue” elements from Saudi Arabia. The same, uh, “rogues” that rammed planes into buildings on 9/11 (15 out of 19 of the hijackers were Saudi nationals). And that helped usher Saudi families (including some members of the bin Laden family) out of the US even as US airspace was being closed. And who knows how deeply embedded the Don is with the Saudis? After all, the US has been in bed with the House of Sa’ud since World War II, precisely over the issue of oil (https://historynewsnetwork.org/blog/8936).

    And with the military budget reaching new heights, I guess all of those Trumpsters who thought the Don would put “America First” and pull back from US intervention overseas must be scratching their heads…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I don’t know whether to draw attention to this or ignore it, but I’ve now started to see Objectivists and the like on Facebook suggest that Khashoggi’s death was deserved on the model of the Taggart Tunnel incident in Atlas Shrugged. Khashoggi did, after all, endorse lots of bad Muslimish premises, and if those involve endorsement of the premise of death, did he not ultimately die of his own hand? (So goes their reasoning, not mine.)

    It took me awhile to grasp that the non-initiation of force principle functions as a rhetorical figleaf in Objectivist polemics. It’s represented as this austere, almost deontic principle in some contexts, but given the way it’s conceived in others, it ends up involving weaker constraints on action than what you’d expect of a confused pragmatist on a bad day.

    On the more evil interpretations, it seems to me that Objectivists espouse the following proviso on the non-initiation principle: if S is committed to endorsing p (however implicitly), and p would, on the Objectivist interpretation kill innocent people (no matter how complex the counterfactual judgment), then you can kill S, and it’s certainly OK to applaud his being killed. When people accuse Rand of fascism, it seems to me this is the sort of thing they have in mind. And I’ve come to think that they’re not entirely wrong to think so.

    It occurs to me that there are probably some Objectivists out there who think I deserve to be killed. And some Muslims, too. Jesus, what a way to start the day.


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