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Volume 68, Issue 1, Date


Let Arabia take care of itself

Thomas Asma
Opinion Columnist

It now seems cliché and obvious to say this, but 9/11 changed the way America looks at the world. President Bush has reintroduced an old dynamic to diplomacy and foreign policy: either you are with us, or you are against us. Relationships are reexamined and shaken, sometimes taken to the extreme of war.

One relationship that suffers is between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Fourteen of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi Arabian.

Although their government does not fund terrorists directly, members of the royal family do.

The implication here is that Saudi Arabia is indeed against us. Why do the Bush administration and the Department of State maintain the relationship is rosy? To quote The Godfather, "Nothing personal. It's strictly business."

Although few say it aloud, many are concerned, even insulted, and rightly so about Saudi efforts against the United States. But one must ignore insult, for the time being, as the business of oil must continue as it does right now. Notice how oil prices increase over talks of invading Iraq and the indefinite nature of the disruption of Iraqi oil output. Imagine the panic that would ensue after an invasion of or the collapse in the government of the single largest exporter of oil in the world. Speculation in Asia, a region of 90 percent oil-import dependence, and Europe would drive the global prices through the roof.

The world economy and the American roadways would come to a grinding halt. Remember the world economy is weak right now, and oil prices of $30 a barrel are hindering recovery.

Bush, a man of business, brushes off insult, as the risk of destroying business would be global recession, which is not part of the solution for Saudi Arabia.

Why would Bush force such a destructive outcome, when its day of reckoning will come of its own accord? Saudi Arabia is a classic case of a country ripe for revolution; the theocracy suppresses dissent, free speech and information; justice is swift, brutal and arbitrary; wealth aggregates in the hands of the few, while the vast lower class suffers, and the healthy middle class is non-existent. Elections do not legitimize the government.

The litany of problems in Arabia continues, and the fate of Saudi Arabia is by no means certain. Overthrow could take place tomorrow or years from now, but it will happen eventually. Its geography and borders, form of government, leaders and control over its own land is subject to the whims of fate. There is one very possible scenario: the government of Saudi Arabia falls, and one must secure the oil fields to secure the flow to the world. Who better than our own soldiers, fortuitously stationed in the middle of it all?

Antagonizing the oil market is not feasible. Allow history to take place, and Saudi Arabia will be of vital importance to the world. 

Its place will be alongside the various oil-producing regions of the world as competitors in a world of globalization and cheaper commodities, including fossil fuels.

Asma, a junior business major, 
can be reached at


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