When Margaret Thatcher died in 2013, the U.S. sent no senior dignitaries to her funeral. Next to Winston Churchill, Thatcher was the most consequential prime minister the U.K. had in a century, and she was an indispensable ally to the U.S., in the Cold War and the first Gulf War too. But the only representative from Barack Obama’s administration was the local ambassador.
|John Kerry and the late King Abdullah|
Just like two weeks ago at the great Paris march in defiance of the Muslim terrorist attacks in that city. Forty-four world leaders attended; Canada sent a cabinet minister. But from the Obama administration: just the local ambassador.
Why? Why did Obama snub the U.K., by some measures the greatest U.S. ally? Why did Obama snub France, America’s first ally?
Contrast those diplomatic slights with the shocking press release issued by John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State, upon the death of Saudi Arabia’s dictator, King Abdullah last week.
“This is a sad day. The United States has lost a friend, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and the world has lost a revered leader,” the press release started.
A revered leader? A theocrat, a fascist, a dictator for life, whose government financially and morally bankrolls Muslim terrorism around the world? A polygamist with an estimated 14 wives, plus countless mistresses? A tyrant whose country still stones to death women for the Shariah crime of being raped; where gays are hanged; and this very week a man was being whipped – 1,000 lashes, 50 lashes at a time to keep him alive enough to receive them all – for the crime of blogging on a website called “Free Saudi Liberals”?
Oh yes. Kerry went on. And on. “King Abdullah was a man of wisdom and vision. I loved my visits with him as a senator and as secretary.... He was so proud of the kingdom’s journey, a brave partner in fighting violent extremism who proved just as important as a proponent of peace… Teresa and I send our condolences to the family of King Abdullah and to the people of Saudi Arabia and the region.”
Saudi Arabia is amongst the least-free countries in the world. Women have few civil rights – not just banned from voting (as is everyone) but banned from driving, banned from even going out without a male “guardian”.
Saudi society can get pretty racist too, living off the avails of millions of foreign indentured workers, often other Muslims, who have no civil rights and are routinely abused. Like China, Saudi Arabia is an enthusiastic practitioner of capital punishment, including by sword. Unlike China, most people executed in Saudi Arabia are foreign workers, including some female housekeepers accused of “witchcraft”.
It is a profoundly sick country, ruled by thousands of “princes” – pampered millionaire layabouts, the mathematical outcome of four generations of polygamous marriages. Most of the princes don’t work – work is for dirty foreigners, who actually operate the oil rigs. The princes’ expertise is how to spend that oil money, whether it’s on foreign prostitutes, foreign race cars or foreign casinos. Those things are “haram” – forbidden under the country’s Shariah law. But that’s the thing about oil money: it buys a lot of hypocrisy.
It also buys plenty of friends in U.S. politics. Not through bribes. But through the promise of a rich retirement. It’s a Saudi custom to donate millions of dollars to U.S. presidents after their term in office, for their presidential libraries, foundations or other retirement make-work projects. It’s the Saudi pension plan for U.S. presidents.
Which would be worse: that Kerry’s grotesque love letter reflects his true feelings, or that it’s just another U.S. politician thinking of his retirement? Maybe a journalist might ask the same of Obama, who has cut short his state visit to India, the world’s biggest democracy, to rush to Saudi Arabia.
Or, perhaps Kerry is just sucking up to President Obama who revered the Saudi King to the point of bowing low to him, even as President of the US, something he would not do to Queen Elizabeth.