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LET’S PLAY - WHO’S YOUR BUDDY 19 May 2017 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

LET’S PLAY - WHO’S YOUR BUDDY

19 May 2017

Dear Friends and Patriots,

            If you’re keeping up at all you know President Trump is leaving the country on a tour of several countries.  He starts in Saudi Arabia, with a huge reception by the Saudi royals and a gathering of 35 or so heads of predominately Muslim countries.  While he’s in Riyadh, be prepared to hear the Saudis or the President announce some new and major military hardware acquisition plans.  Yes, friends and neighbors, the Saudis are about to start spending in their favorite country.  They love our toys, and they want some big ones, including a good number of ships, airplanes, and missile systems.  I know much more about this, but have to stop now, lest you think I’m a government leaker of secrets.  Once the official announcements are made I may be able to talk about it more, but maybe not.  It depends on my instructions.  As a flag-waving, Star-Spangled Banner singing, ex-Sailor and patriot, I never go beyond my defined limits.

            There’s word on the street of a potential deal the Saudis want in return for their cash-and-carry acquisitions in America.  They want US support in raising the world price on crude oil.  It’s an interesting thought.  Today the benchmark crude price is just over $50/bbl.  I’m thinking that’s quite sufficient.  What does our nation gain in letting it get much higher?  Oh, that’s right, our new shale oil production is sort of languishing and getting the world price up will kick-start that industry.  But, think about that.  If we grow our market for domestic crude, we buy less Saudi oil; maybe even none.  So, what’s in this for the Saudis?  It would seem raising the world price of crude might be a double-edged sword.  But, there’s that acquisition program again.  The Saudis are willing to promise us boat-loads of cash if we’ll just help them a little.  Watch this deal very carefully, folks.  If Trump is smart he’ll find the way to meet our nation’s strategic needs and serve the interests of the Saudis at the same time.  But, he might not.  It’ll all be in the details of any deal struck.  We should all want to read that deal.  We don’t want to trade off our potential economic growth just to sell some ships and airplanes.  That would be short-term thinking.  We want to sell the Saudis pretty much whatever they want, but not handicap our own nation’s freedom to act in any way at all.  That deal can be made, but will it?

            Remember, the Saudis have been engaged in deficit spending for quite a while.  I don't know what their break-even point is where the price of oil equates to a balanced budget.  I do know ever since crude dropped from its high at over $150/bbl. the Saudis have been very, very nervous.  Rumors are they've dipped significantly into their vast cash reserves to maintain the welfare state they created, and are to the point they're fairly malleable on points of foreign policy if the US can find a way to help them raise the price.  Oil is the kingdom's major source of income.  If they don't start bringing in some big bucks pretty soon life will get very interesting for them.  Not in a good way.

            We have sort of an ace-in-the-hole.  It has to do with Iran.  Iran is actually the prime reason the Saudis have hung on with us through the past administration.  Even though they understood President Obama was no particular friend of theirs, they didn’t want relations between our two countries to degenerate to the point that we might tilt toward Iran and put our Arabian Gulf States relationships on hold.  We have played the role of shield for the Saudis for decades, and they want us back in their pockets.  That’s a consideration for any discussions that are to be held.  President Trump should keep one thing firmly in his mind – they need us; we don’t need them.

            Our relationship with the Saudis goes back to the 1920s, when Standard Oil of California (SOCAL) managed to acquire an exclusive exploration deal with the country.  They failed to find oil, though, and sold their franchise to the Texas Oil Company (TEXACO).  TEXACO brought in a significant strike after a few years of trying and, in 1944, reorganized the partnership agreement with the formation of the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO).  ARAMCO, led by American petroleum engineers and geologists, developed the Saudi oil fields and refineries that exist today.  ARAMCO was fully nationalized in 1980 and is now known as Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi-ARAMCO).  The partnership between our two nations has always been based on oil.

            Those who know the most about the oil industry in America will tell you the virtual shut-down of the domestic oil industry that took place during the decade of the 1970s was purposeful.  They’ll tell you our government made a conscious decision to import ever-increasing amounts of Saudi oil instead of continuing to explore and produce our own.  The Saudis enjoyed a price advantage over domestic crude, so there was some economic sense to it.  There was also the strategic notion that using their oil instead of our own might eventually ensure America’s perpetual energy independence.  Those who believe this will tell you our potential to become the world’s leading crude producer again was never a real question; just something not talked about.  Our strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia was just too important.

            Our current situation makes politics in the Middle East a very touchy exercise.  The Saudis are very adamant that Iran is the nation all should be most concerned with today.   They point to Iran and tell us, “Yonder lies your real enemy, the greatest sponsor of terrorism on the planet.”  Of course, to buy that as literal truth you have to deal with the fact that no Iranian-sponsored group has bombed or shot up anything in our nation yet.  Nor have they flown airplanes into any of our buildings, or killed thousands of our citizens.  No, the Iranians haven’t done that.  But, the Saudis have.

            The Saudis will tell you most of the mischief in the Middle East is funded by Iran, yet we keep seeing fingerprints on money to ISIS, Fatah, Hamas, al Qaeda and other fundamentalist Muslim groups that trace back to Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar.  It sort of makes one ask questions like:   who’s our real friends, and who’s our real enemies?  If Saudi Arabia is our best friend next to Israel, yet it was mostly Saudi nationals who executed the 9-11 Plot and the original leadership of al Qaeda were Saudis, beginning with Osama bin Laden, we really need to understand what definition of 'friendship' we’re using.

            Those fingerprints mentioned above don't seem to trace to any official Saudi source.  No, the Saudis aren't involved in perpetrating terroristic violence to further the causes of Islam.  They spend their money elsewhere; all over the world.  If you look at all the significant mosques built around the non-Muslim world during the past decade, chances are they were financed by gifts of the people of Saudi Arabia, via their government's Muslim outreach programs.  Their objective is to spread Islam to all corners of the world.  It's their peaceful hijra; the gradual takeover of everything through force of increasing presence.  If we partner with the Saudis to bail them out of their impending financial difficulties we will abet the peaceful hijra.  Is this something Americans should want?  Are more than a few in our country even remotely aware?

            While I advocate for support of our President, and very much want him to succeed in all endevors, I have grave concerns about his dealings with the Muslim Arab states - all of them.  Regardless of any pretense, those countries are not our friends.  They might not appear to be active enemies, but their interests and our own are not in alignment.  My advocacy would be to continue ensuring the low price of oil on the market, and purposefully push the Arab Muslim states and Iran into positions of great financial insecurity. We should let them know how little we need of  them, in no uncertain terms.  If we did, those countries might have to find a new sponsor.  They only have China and Russia to choose from.  Iran is already halfway in Russia's orbit.  The Arab Muslims don't like Russians, but don't like China much more. They'd have to make choices - dance to America's tune or pick another partner and dance to theirs.  Yes, I say we strongarm them.  It may be the only way to rein them in.  Otherwise, we'll have to get used to seeing a few new Saudi-financed mega-mosques every year, and also will continue to battle Gulf State-financed terror groups like those previously mentioned.

            Can we coexist with Islam?  Can we live in peace with the Arab Muslim states and all the other predominately Muslim nations?  Yes, we can.  But, not if they don't respect and fear us.  We have to have no-nonsense foreign, military, and economic policies that can apply painful leverage if need be.  We have to convince our European friends of their current folly and re-think our own immigration policies. We have to have the willingness to push Muslims back and purposefully reject their peaceful hijra and obvious attempts to breed Europeans into minorities in their own lands.

            There is an obvious question that has to be asked and answered.  Are exclusionary policies discriminatory and xenophobic.  They are certainly one, but not the other.  When a distinct population seeks to supplant their generous hosts to create a replica of the culture of their former nation, they present a threat to the host nation.  If that nation values its culture and traditions and wants them preserved, or even if it merely desires to maintain the current form of government, then it must adopt exclusionary immigration policies as a matter of national self-preservation.  That is definitely discriminatory, but just as definitely not xenophobic.  To be xenophobic those policies would have to be irrational.  There is nothing irrational about policies intended to to fend off hijra.  It's entirely rational.  Just not pretty.

            Now, what of "good" Muslims?  What of those who are now in our midst, who have apparently integrated into our society and seemingly assimilated?  This is very dangerous ground.   Muslims in our midst may or may not present a latent threat.  It sounds oppressive to say, "We have to watch them."  So, don't ever say it.  Believe me, you'll do it anyway.   You won't need encouragement.  You'll naturally question and observe.  You'll automatically do something if you suspect someone in your community is an agent of a foreign nation or radical movement.  You'll do the right thing.  You don't need to be oppressive about it.  Just prudent.  We are all the front line of security inside our nation's borders. We just have to keep that in mind, be aware, and be prepared to act.  Beyond that, any Muslim who lives among us deserves our consideration, hospitality, and friendship.  Never assume anyone is your adversary just because they have a different belief system than you.  The Muslim couple down at the end of your street might be just as concerned about radical Islam as you.  They might just be ardent lovers of liberty and are in our country for precisely that reason.  It's possible to be a good Muslim and a good, patriotic American.  Never think differently.  To do so would be xenophobic. 

            These are strange and scary times.  It takes a lot to figure out all that's  going on.  Very few things are as they seem.  Everything is multidimensional. Our best hope is President Trump understands that, and is equal to the tasks ahead.  If he can't figure out a very good deal with all those Muslim nations in Riyadh, we in the United States will rue the day we continued to deal with them at all.

In Liberty,
Steve