BHO will grovel in Riyadh


"Burns also suggested that Obama would stress to the Saudis on his second visit to the kingdom as president — and the first in five years — that the United States understands their concerns about a “range of dangerous Iranian behavior that threatens our interests and those of our friends in the region” beyond the nuclear issue. Burns acknowledged that Syria is at the heart of those concerns and hinted, without being specific, that the Obama administration is looking for new ways to end the stalemate between the opposition and Bashar al-Assad's regime. Two rounds of talks in Geneva have not been successful, Burns said, and there is “zero evidence of seriousness” on the part of Syrian government representatives in negotiating a political transition that results in Assad’s removal. The veteran US diplomat, who served as ambassador to Russia from 2005-2008 and is scheduled to represent the US at the closing ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics later this week, urged Russia to “use all the influence it can bring” on the Syrian government to agree to a political transition."  Al Monitor


That is the Prince of Wales.  This seems reminiscent of an old episode of "Yes, Minister."  You remember.  It is the one in which the Whitehall crowd get dressed up in Arabian fancy dress to kiss Gulfie buttocks over some arms deal, or perhaps because it is an old habit acquired in Christmas pantomime.  Obama would look great in Saudi wedding garments.  Perhaps POTUS will bow to his king once again.  In all the time that I spent with Arabs and Arab armies, I never wore their clothes, never.  The sole exception was that I wore a shamagh (red and white head cloth or kuffiyah) when with the Jordanian Army.  It kept my ears from becoming something that looked like toast.  I always made it clear that I was their American friend, and not a supplicant for anything.

That is the great flaw in the approach outlined by Burns.  The Saudis will  interpret such a position as an admission of weakness and will react by demanding acceptance of their policy positions in regard to Syria and Iran.

In the ME the zero sum game rules all.  Someone wins and someone loses.  The possibility of win-win outcomes is largely discounted as an amusing Western idea.  Even those who fully grasp the concept of equality of outcomes do not act that way in business or government.

Saudi Arabia will demand forceful action to remove the present Syrian government.  They want this because they think they can pick the winners among the Sunni contestants for power.  They are wrong,

I, too, was wrong, Obama is the head R2Per.  pl[English]&utm_campaign=537d8db58b-January_9_20141_8_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_28264b27a0-537d8db58b-93066749

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34 Responses to BHO will grovel in Riyadh

  1. Petrous says:

    Beautifully put.
    Often times it feels as if different capitals in the ME & NE take turn dictating policy to us. Making use of our manpower & economic power to achieve ends that are desirable for them but often times not so much for us ; or even the great majority of the local population.

  2. Tyler says:

    Well now that you’ve called out Obama, I’m curious to see the fanciful spin his adherents here will put on the situation and how its Bush’s fault or the Tea Party’s fault or someone but the President’s decision.

  3. Fred says:

    “I always made it clear that I was their American friend, and not a supplicant for anything.”
    BHO for all of his proclamaition of being ‘commander in chief’ of the world’s only super-power is acting as a supplicant and not an American president. Why isn’t the King of Suadi Arabia coming to America? Aren’t we the super power?

  4. Colonel Lang,
    Do you seriously think that Scots have a high-minded attitude to money from the likes of the Saudis?
    Perhaps you think that Gordon Brown is English? Or that Blair and Cameron are English names?
    As to Prince Charles, he was of course very close to his grandmother, who was the daugher of the 14th Earl of Strathmore. But then, the political allegiances of the Anglo-Scottish nobility are a complex matter.

  5. turcopolier says:

    David Habakkuk
    No, I don’t think the Scots are more virtuous than the English. I thought the picture was wondrously absurd. As you know I have both English and Scots ancestors and certainly am not a Scottish partisan. I have enough to worry about over here in dealing with the lunatics who run our government. BTW, your wife raises an interesting point concerning the Westminster parliament. Sorry to have annoyed you. I am removing the line about the Scots. pl

  6. Colonel Lang,
    You didn’t annoy me at all. I just couldn’t resist the comeback.
    There are however — as often with many ethnic disputes — complexities which are sometimes not registered in the U.S.
    The question of the right of Scots MPs to vote on English issues which in Scotland are the preserve of the Scots parliament is one.
    Another relates to education.
    The ‘au pair’ who helped my mother when I was a small boy, in the early Fifties, was German. She married our lodger, who was a theology student from the Sudentenland, and became a bishop in the Old Catholic Church. The family link has stuck, over the years. Her grandson is coming from Vienna to study at a Scottish university, where as an EU citizen he will not be charged fees.
    Anyone from England, however, will have to pay the same fees to attend a Scottish university that they would pay to attend an English one. I am very happy that Ilse’s grandson wants to come to study in the U.K., but the fact that subsidies no longer available in England are still available in Scotland, and are made available to everyone in the EU other than the English, does cause resentment.

  7. the Unready says:

    “They want this because they think they can pick the winners among the Sunni contestants for power. They are wrong”
    on that note, what is going on here? General deposed then re-imposed…but who is backing the factions?

  8. turcopolier says:

    the Unready
    Syria is now a seething, boiling cauldron of factions, militias, sects, etc. Various factions have a wide variety of sponsors. I have not seen a recent “score card” on sponsor identities., pl

  9. nick b says:

    Why bother? I voted for him twice. I agree with the Colonel.

  10. Before any US President goes to Saudi Arabia IMO the SAUDI veto on the un-redaction of many pages of the 9/11 Commission Report that concerns the Saudi origin of many of the perpetrators should be ignored!
    IMO those pages reveal the Saudi Royal family had members who knew of the plot and supported it financially!

  11. JohnH says:

    Yes, Obama’s title should be “Groveler in Chief.” That’s been his style all along–going along to get along, punctuated by the occasional high minded speech, followed by a resounding lack of followup.
    Now he is groveling before the Saudis. Next weekend he’ll probably grovel before Israel at the annual AIPAC conference. And that’s not to mention groveling before Clapper, Wall Street, oil companies, and the defense industry.
    And people wonder why the “most powerful nation in the world” can’t come up with a coherent strategy?

  12. Rd. says:

    Tyler said…
    “ how its Bush’s fault or the Tea Party’s fault or someone but the President’s decision. “
    you can review bushes ‘faults’ if you will for yourself.. it is in the nature of the house to house ‘diseased’ relations. That is the white house and the house of saud.
    Bush in Saudi Arabia to beg king to help end oil crisis as prices hit $125 a barrel
    Read more:
    Hand in hand for oil
    and to top it off.. you need to see GW steps in a sword dance!!!

  13. Tyler says:

    I meant more the laughable attempts of Obama’s many adherents here to pretend that there’s any daylight between Bush II and Obama.

  14. Jack says:

    Is this how empire ends? When money and personal interests of political leaders trump national interest.

  15. Medicine Man says:

    I don’t know that there are many Obama adherents here. For my own part, I would say the main difference between Obama and Bush II is not one of nature but of magnitude. So far his blunders have not produced the sheer waste that his predecessor’s did, though there are certainly many opportunities for him to make up the difference. In the future I think he’s more likely to be viewed as this century’s Herbert Hoover than Bush III but opinions vary.

  16. Alba Etie says:

    To paraphrase Kerensky the difference between cat sh-t & dog sh-t …at least on misbegotten military adventures overseas .

  17. Rd. says:

    Medicine Man said in reply to Tyler…
    “I don’t know that there are many Obama adherents here. For my own part, I would say the main difference between Obama and Bush II is “
    it is not about the individuals. nowadays, unfortunately, there are no ‘differences’ between the two parties, EXCEPT the rhetoric.!!!
    Regrettably, in a consumer society, the rhetoric, always, always, sells!!
    If ANYONE has any doubts on that, you can wait for the next 4 years and regardless of who or what party in on, the mess would continue to get even worse… EXCEPT, the shinny house on the top of the hill will be marketed as even shinier than ever before..
    Unless and until ‘We the people, by the people, and for the people’ grow their proverbial (you know what) and standup for their rights and the constitution, the big corp disease will continue to mass slave the population and their ‘elected’ representatives just as Jackson once foresaw.

  18. Pat Lang,
    The President may grovel, but will not be able to better the “groveling score” of his speech concerning Palestine and Israel at the UN in ’11. That was a world class performance. However, style points may be awarded on the basis of groveling before a “royal” who’s basically the 3d or 4th generation removed from a desert sheik who was in the right place at the right time.
    Perhaps, on the other hand, he won’t grovel.

  19. Tyler says:

    Oh they pop out of the woodwork from time to time, and then we Do Battle.

  20. Tyler says:

    I’m only going to be happy if someone attempts to restore some sort of Originalist doctrine of government instead of the usual “me me me me” power grab.

  21. turcopolier says:

    “Perhaps, on the other hand, he won’t grovel” Make up your mind. Which is it? pl

  22. Fred says:

    I voted for the man twice. I will not disagree about the blunders, it is his complicit conduct in not prosecuting any financial industry executives or corporations and other continuations of the Bush administration’s policies that have completely disillusioned me about the democratic party and its leadership, not just BHO.

  23. Fred says:

    This is only the beginning of the end of democracy in America, not an end to empire.

  24. PL,
    Don’t know. Hope he won’t. Don’t think he should. Can’t see why he and his advisors think it would be necessary.

  25. Charles I says:

    Why indeed? Why is any of the ME fp “necessary”?

  26. Medicine Man says:

    While I don’t loathe Obama the way some do, I largely agree with your critique. What ever else Obama is he is clearly not the guy to challenge the received “wisdom” in the capitol. This is quite a problem because there are a few critical parts of the status quo that need to be upset to mend the US’s injuries.

  27. Jack says:

    IMO democracy in the sense of voting in elections is over-rated. What I bemoan is loss of our constitutional republic.

  28. Medicine Man says:

    There are differences between the two parties, just not on handful of assumptions in Washington that are never examined or questioned. One of those assumptions is that there is no problem in the world that the US should not be able solve, with military force if necessary.

  29. nick b says:

    The Colonel has said more that once that the Principate approaches. More and more I wonder if we are not there already.

  30. Thomas says:

    Back in 92 while channel flipping one evening, I stopped on Charlie Rose while he was interviewing Sultan bin Abdul Azziz on his recent book about how he won the Gulf War. Of course Charlie was going at him that it was Stormin’ Norman as the great victor while throughout Sultan was countering and slowly steaming though not losing his cool. If looks could kill, his said spinal cranial separation with cold steel. John Glubb writes that the Arab character has an appreciation for hospitality rendered and vengeance for personal slights, real or perceived. The next year we get the first attack in NY.

  31. Fred says:

    nick b,
    I certainly see his point.

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