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Free Minds & Free Markets

The Saudis Need Us, Not the Other Way Around

The U.S. should not let its foreign policy be dictated by threats from Saudi Arabia, or anyone else.

Sipa USA/NewscomSipa USA/NewscomMore than ten days after Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consultate in Istanbul, Riyadh is reportedly preparing to admit some culpability for the journalist's death. On orders from President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the case directly. The State Department described the talks as "direct and candid;" given the egrecious nature of the crime—ambushing a journalist and permanent U.S. resident in a diplomatic facility, torturing him, murdering him, and disposing of him with a bone-saw—one can only hope the Pompeo read the Saudi royal family the riot act.

At the same time the Saudis are feigning cooperation with an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance, Riyadh is warning of retaliation in the event Washington issues sanctions on the Kingdom. Turki Aldakhil, the general manager of Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya, bluntly warned that higher oil prices could soon be coming down the pike: "If the price of oil reaching $80 angered President Trump, no one should rule out the price jumping to $100, or $200, or even double that figure."

As the Middle East's top oil exporter and the second largest oil producer in the world, a decision by Saudi Arabia to cut production would inevitably raise the price of crude substantially. Over a span of months, Americans would be paying more for gas at the pump. Yet Riyadh would be vastly overstating its leverage if it believed a medium-sized regional state like Saudi Arabia could for a moment dictate policy to the United States, the world's largest economy and military power.

Over the long-term, inflating oil prices would be a disaster to Saudi Arabia's economy and a public relations nightmare for the media-conscience Kingdom. Riyadh cannot guarantee one of its competitors would not increase its own exports and steal market share underneath its feet. For a country like Saudi Arabia—which is almost totally dependent on oil sales to finance the extensive welfare benefits it provides for its population—losing market share is an unsustainable situation. With less revenue coming in, the Saudi government would either have to tax a population used to receiving free education and healthcare, dip into its foreign exchange reserves (getting lighter since 2015), or begin freezing a bloated public sector that has served as a job program for young Saudis entering the workforce. Neither option is positive in terms of Saudi Arabia's domestic tranquillity.

It is a safe assumption that Saudi Arabia's stock in the West would also plummet, both in diplomatic circles and in the business world, as potential investors start looking for opportunities elsewhere.

Riyadh would like the Trump administration to think that the U.S. needs Saudi Arabia more than Saudi Arabia needs the U.S. The reality could not be any different.

There was a time earlier in the century when the U.S. was as an addicted consumer of Saudi oil. To Riyadh's disappointment, that is no longer the case. As America's own oil production has gone up, its imports of Saudi oil have gone down. According to U.S. government statistics, U.S. imports of Saudi crude in 2017 decreased by 14 percent from the previous year, reaching the lowest rate since 1988. Riyadh accounts for only 9 percent of America's total crude imports, a shell of a figure compared to Canada's 40 percent. Because U.S. purchases are already decreasing, a hypothetical Saudi slowdown in production—or even an outright cutoff—would have far less of an impact. While the Saudis like to brandish oil as a weapon in its arsenal, the weapon is losing much of its luster.

Since Saudi officials rely so much on oil proceeds to pad their budget, they may choose to retaliate in another way: downgrading its diplomatic and intelligence relationship with Washington. Such a downgrade would cause concern in Washington as U.S. policymakers, particularly those responsible for counterterrorism, calculate the impact of weaker collaboration.

This course of action, however, would also be far from cost-free for the Saudi state. Indeed, if Riyadh were brash enough to cut off diplomatic relations or intelligence partnerships, Saudi Arabia's already buckling credibility on Capitol Hill would plateau to an extent the Kingdom would be unprepared to manage. The Saudis, even under a gambler like the 33-year old bin Salman, would be unlikely to spark the ire of Congress and jeopardize their access to U.S. military hardware, training, and technology, particularly when Riyadh is currently fighting in the fourth year of a war in Yemen that, charitably put, is a stalemate. And while the Saudis could lessen their dependence on American equipment by switching to Russian and Chinese suppliers, such a transition would not happen overnight. It would require the kind of time Riyadh is unwilling to spend in the current threat environment.

The killing of a journalist is an unconscionable act, especially when the assailant is a supposed U.S. friend. U.S.-Saudi ties, however, were never founded upon friendship, shared values, a mutual sense of ethics, or a common history. They were founded upon pragmatism and realpolitik. If the pragmatism is wearing off, or the other party is acting counter to U.S. interests, Washington should reassess the assumptions underlying the partnership.

Notwithstanding the dubious and changing explanations from the Saudi royal family about what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, this is a seminal moment for President Trump as a world leader. The message from the U.S. government across the board must meet the occassion: while the administration desires constructive relations with the Kingdom, its interests will always be surpassed by those of the American people. Just the same: U.S. policy in the Middle East from now on will independent from any one country, flexible, and untethered from the region's power struggles.

Photo Credit: Sipa USA/Newscom

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  • Bubba Jones||

    The Saudis killed a Saudi citizen in Turkey.

    Isn't that something we do all day, every day? Kill Saudi citizens who oppose our political objectives?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    He was a Virginia resident, you half-educated, bigoted rube.

  • Libertymike||

    He was also an OBL pal.

  • MJBinAL||

    Arty,

    The man said he was a Saudi citizen, and indeed he was.

    You said he was a Virginia resident, and indeed he was.

    None of that justified you insulting him in you typical half-baked bigoted way.

    If you have the self-awareness to perceive irony, perhaps you will detect it in your behavior.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Your co-wingnut Bubba was contending that America and Americans should not be concerned about the apparent political murder.

    He and his assertion deserve derision.

    If you can not perceive that, you likely are a downscale right-wing shill, too.

    My behavior is precipitated by my lack of interest in political correctness. I call a bigot a bigot, a half-educated rube a half-educated rube, a depleted, can't-keep-up backwater a depleted can't-keep-up backwater, and a disaffected, bigoted, half-educated, economically inadequate, superstitious, anti-social, right-wing, faux libertarian malcontent an avid Trump supporter.

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|10.16.18 @ 8:53PM|#
    "Your co-wingnut Bubba was contending that America and Americans should not be concerned about the apparent political murder."
    You lying pile of shit, he was pointing out that the US does this fairly regularly.

    "He and his assertion deserve derision.
    If you can not perceive that, you likely are a downscale right-wing shill, too."
    You deserve and get far worse than that, you fucking lefty ignoramus.

    "My behavior is precipitated by my lack of interest in political correctness. I call a bigot a bigot, a half-educated rube a half-educated rube, a depleted, can't-keep-up backwater a depleted can't-keep-up backwater, and a disaffected, bigoted, half-educated, economically inadequate, superstitious, anti-social, right-wing, faux libertarian malcontent an avid Trump supporter."
    You're behavior is precipitated by your absymal ignorance combine with a totally unwarratend self regard.
    Fuck off.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    You seem to be having a hard time getting over losing the culture war.

    Mostly, you seem to be a loser.

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|10.16.18 @ 11:27PM|#
    "You seem to be having a hard time getting over losing the culture war."

    You seem to be an ignoramus who has a hard time reading, loser.
    Grow up, asshole.

  • vek||

    The thing I like best about the insults you throw out Rev, are that you're probably mostly throwing them at people who are smarter, more educated, and wealthier than you!

    Myself for example, given that you've said all kinds of hilarious stuff about me... None of which is accurate. I'm just your typical native born, west coast, business owning, 6 figure making, high IQ, right-libertarian who hates the fuck out of Prog morons like you! Not an inbred, backwater, illiterate, blah blah blah like you think.

    Perhaps you can't deal with the fact that many of the people who oppose your idiotic ideas are in fact objectively superior to you in nearly all ways? Hence you call people names, like a child might do. It's sad really.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Get an education. Start with standard English, including proper usage of "myself" and punctuation.

  • Truthteller1||

    Pretty clever for a millennial troll. What's mommy making you for dinner?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Look at the Lefties push this nonAmerican saudi issue.

  • John||

    What interests do the American people have in the murder of a Saudi citizen that occurs at a Saudi embassy in Turkey. None that I can see. If America does have some interest in this, then reason needs to apologize for pretty much every ani foreign internevtion article it has ever written. Because if this is any of our business, everything is our business.

    And I thought "free trade" was sacred? If we should stop trading with Saudi Arabia over this, then why are tarriffs against China, a country that is currently locking an entire ethnic group in concentration camps and has a human right record that would make Castro blush, like the worst thing ever?

  • damikesc||

    I don't get that either. He's a "permanent resident", but he's not American. He's a Saudi citizen. We do not and should not go to war because a country killed and mutilated a citizen of theirs (whose complaint, it should be noted, was that Arabia was becoming too liberalized). It's really bad and sad --- but if Iran and China's treatment of THEIR dissidents does not warrant any negative outcomes per this site, then how in the hell does this do so?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Watching disaffected, uneducated right-wing authoritarians attempt to emulate moral, decent, informed human beings can be entertaining.

  • Just Say'n||

    I'd venture to guess that you are probably the least informed person on this topic

  • damikesc||

    Just Sayin, for your comment to be completely true, you need to name a topic Artie wouldnt be the least informed person.

    Otherwise, hes least informed in ALL topics.

  • Red Tony||

    Kirkland is well-informed on the topic of trotting out the same litany of smug insults time after time.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    All the Lefties swarming reason in the last few days are pretty ignorant.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Calling for a moral war? Or what is the moral position on this?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'm just going to tell you straight up Kirkland. If you attempted to discuss in any amount of good faith, you would find people here who would discuss with you. It can be hateful here, but people here tend to be quite willing to argue a point.

    You need to do so first though. No one could possibly derive a concrete position from what you say. And all you argue is that everyone else is a hick. Open up a little Rev. I'll talk with you at least.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Libertarians don't appease murderous, aggressively backward dictators. Nor do other decent people. I'm with the libertarians and decent people on this one.

    I'm also with the libertarians and decent people on detesting Donald Trump, especially with respect to his authoritarian positions on immigration, tariffs, and abortion.

    What was it you wanted to debate?

  • Red Tony||

    For any newbies on this thread, this is pretty much par for the course. BUCS is pretty much the nicest guy here, and he offers to have a good-faith discussion with a known troll. The known troll, Kirkland, proceeds to suggest that there is no possibility of debate unless you completely agree with him, as he is one of the "betters" in our society. Along the way, he refuses to actual state what his positions are so he can't be pinned down on any of them, and insinuates that BUCS is neither a libertarian nor a decent person despite the fact that BUCS' conduct on this board amply signals him as both.

    And on top of this, the fact that Kirkland refrained from engaging in any rape threats makes this one of his less disgusting posts.

  • Fancylad||

    Kirkland works for Media Matters. He's paid to be disruptive here.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Shoving progress down the whiny throats of bigoted right-wingers is not rape.

    A libertarian would recognize this. A faux libertarian would whine about it.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Watching disaffected, uneducated right-wing authoritarians attempt to emulate moral, decent, informed human beings can be entertaining."

    Watching the Left smugly congratulate itself when they have no arguments but their own hatred of you can be entertaining.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    It is not hatred. It is disdain.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Disdain for freedom, liberty, and the constitution.

  • Dont Tread On Womyn||

    A worthwhile distinction, to be sure.

  • Sebastian Cremmington||

    Says the guy that thought Uday and Qusay Hussein were swell guys.

  • Kivlor||

    It's really bad and sad --- but if Iran and China's treatment of THEIR dissidents does not warrant any negative outcomes per this site, then how in the hell does this do so?

    The answer to your question is in the first sentence of the article.

    More than ten days after Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consultate in Istanbul, Riyadh is reportedly preparing to admit some culpability for the journalist's death.

    He was a well-known member of the priest class of the secular world, and we can't allow them to be treated like normal folks. A death like this is a true outrage and an insult to the secular priests here at Reason.

  • Lester224||

    No one is saying we should go to war. We should sanction the Saudis financially and diplomatically so that they don't think they can go around killing any journalist that criticizes them. Next they'll start killing American citizens not just permanent residents. It's a bad precedent to let this go. We have more leverage over the Saudis than Iran and China and we should use it.

  • JoeBlow123||

    No we should not. The death of a Saudi in Turkey is not a reason to change the foreign policy of the United States. It is actually a really stupid reason to do anything.

  • Ben_||

    That guy is very important to people who can't think for themselves and just parrot what news media people say.

  • Tony||

    How pretend Obama were president when this happened.

  • Don't look at me!||

    Yes, what would have the great one done?

  • Tony||

    It's about how much this would be Benghazi 2.0 to John.

  • Kivlor||

    Non-American killed by non-Americans in a non-American land without American involvement doesn't really create Benghazi 2.0, whether the POTUS is the magic negro or DJT.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Neocons outraged over the death of a journalist in Turkey. MSM calls them islamophobic."

  • damikesc||

    Tony, no "WHATABOUTISM!!!"?

  • Nardz||

    Pretty sure multiple journalists were beheaded when BO was prez.
    His response was to continue arming the culprits.
    The only difference was that those journalists were Americans.

  • vek||

    I too thought it rather amusing they said we should DEFINITELY not back down on our foreign policy objectives because of threats from foreign powers... When that is EXACTLY what is being advocated on basically every other issue. Trade, immigration, etc. We can't POSSIBLY contemplate doing what is in our national interests if it might even SLIGHTLY offend some foreign nation, or cause them to retaliate.

    It would be super LOL if it weren't so depressing... They're willing to fuck the US economy up for realz over some barbaric Arabs killing one of their own citizens... But it can't even be considered that we might do something in the long term economic interests of Americans if it ticks off a totalitarian Communist regime in China, who commits far MORE human rights violations than even the Saudis could ever dream of.

    WTF.

  • vek||

    Oh wait, I just figured it out!

    IT'S ALL ABOUT TEH FEELZ! Can't use REASON or LOGIC... Only the feelz.

  • Kivlor||

    It's about the fact that he was a journalist for the WaPo. He's an officially ordained member of the American secular priesthood.

  • Jerryskids||

    The State Department described the talks as "direct and candid;"

    "Play along and you'll find some goodies in your Christmas stockings, make Cheeto Jesus look bad and we'll cut your balls off. Capisce?"

  • Just Say'n||

    Why did it take the death of a journalist for many in the media to suddenly care about the US' relationship with Saudi Arabia?

  • Just Say'n||

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk0TqIbPNbY

    Here's a reminder of what the bulk of the media thought about Saudi Arabia murdering Yemenis and Rand Paul's attempt to stop US support for the Saudis

  • John||

    He is not even a journalist. He is a Muslim Brotherhood shill who was just as big of an enemy to freedom as the Saudi Royals are. He didn't deserve to be murdered, but he was hardly someone reason should be holding in any esteem

  • damikesc||

    I'd argue he was worse than MBS. The prince, bare minimum, is trying to liberalize the country somewhat. He opposed it. Quite thoroughly.

  • John||

    The fact that the US media is so upset about this really makes me wonder how much money and influence the Muslim Brotherhood has in this country. There is really no reason to give a single fuck about this. Yet, the media is going crazy over it.

  • Just Say'n||

    The US media has long believed that all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. Of course they are going to shrug when American weapons are being used by the Saudis to kill a bunch of poor Arabs in some place that they can't even identify on a map. But, they will raise hell if one of their imagined aristocrats are killed.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I think it's just that for some reason this is a political point they can get away with. Particularly in this day and age of social media, they can make a billion points and then dig down further on the things that stick.

    For instance, I don't hear that much about journalists being killed in Mexico. A place where actual brave journalists are doing good work and dying for it. And I think the reason is it's hard to make a political hit piece out of it.

  • Just Say'n||

    That's a fair point. But they only care about journalists at home.

  • Dillinger||

    >>>There is really no reason to give a single fuck about this

    word.

  • Ben_||

    Your news media commands you to emote for them.

  • Dillinger||

    in passing, all the bare legs get me sometimes

  • Tony||

    Now back to Elizabeth Warren's DNA test!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Thats old news. Shes whitey.

  • LiborCon||

    "The prince, bare minimum, is trying to liberalize the country somewhat."

    Yah, he's trying to bring Saudi Arabia into the 12th Century.

  • Red Tony||

    Enh, more like the 18th.

    Still, it's progress.

  • vek||

    Honestly, other than slavery being ended, we've really NOT improved much of anything beyond the 18th or 19th century. Everything has mostly just gone to shit. So if Saudi Arabia got to 19th century levels of American liberalism, they'd be doing a HELL of a lot better than we are with 21st century American liberalism! :(

  • Libertymike||

    This guy has quite the background.

    His father was the personal physician for the Saudi king.

    His uncle was the arms dealer, Adnan.

    His cousin Dodi was Dianna's honey-bunch.

  • zazoo||

    His cousin Dodi was Dianna's honey-bunch.

    ...well look what happened to him... :)

  • Dillinger||

    but but but ... journalist!

  • Hank Phillips||

    Saudi journalist, remember? Bin Ladin? Twin Towers? United Flight 93? Islamic Sharia? Mecca? girl mutilation? Mohammed? Allahu Akbar? Schadenfreude?

  • buybuydandavis||

    Journalists are part of the ruling class. Their lives matter.

  • Nardz||

    They are the progressive faith's clergy

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Which is part of why progressives have won the culture war and wiped their shoes on conservative tongues from time to time.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    If lefties won the culture war, how is Trump rolling back decades of lefty policies and agendas?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    He is doing no such thing. You figure gay-bashing and school prayer are coming back? You think he will effect long-term changes in environmental protection? You expect creationism to be back in science classes? You think the drug warriors are going to get their mojo back? You think women are going back to '50s-era conservative preferences? You expect a right-wing comeback on voter suppression? You think right-wing preferences on abortion and contraception are America's future?

    The right-wingers have lost. Demographics will enable the liberal-libertarian alliance to add a layer of cement atop the grave of conservative aspirations after more than a half-century of great American progress.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, gee, let's once again point out how asshole is asshole:

    "Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|10.16.18 @ 11:38PM|#
    He is doing no such thing. Y..."

    And then I looked at the whole post and realized it was some HS sophomoric collection of bullshit.
    Fuck off, asshole.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Quit whining, disaffected authoritarian bigot.

  • Nardz||

    It is occasionally entertaining to watch rev talk to his mirror

  • Nardz||

    And I mean literal mirror, not metaphorically Sevo or any other poster

  • Mongo||

    "Sahib, I have a limited supply of succulent, Turkish-spiced shish kebab for you. I call it 'Apostate Black Heart of the Ingrate Journalist.' Tastes like pork, I am told."

  • Ken Shultz||

    Oil prices are a distraction from the real reason Saudi Arabia is useful--it's as a pragmatic antagonist to our enemy, Iran.

  • Moo Cow||

    Its utterly stupid to throw in with the Wahabis against Iran.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Says you.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Its utterly stupid to throw in with the Wahabis against Iran."

    That's an interesting observation--my question is all about whether it's in our best interests to ally with Saudi Arabia against Iran. Does Saudi Arabia have what amounts to an active ICBM program and has Saudi Arabia violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

    I'm no fan of Stalin, but there's an argument to make that making an ally of him to fight the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese was a good idea.

    Oh, and one other thing . . . the crown prince everyone is complaining about? He allowed women to drive for the first time. He stripped the religious police of their power to ask for IDs or detain anyone--not women for the way they're dressed nor women for associating with men that aren't their family members. He's also allowed women to attend sporting events for the first time. The crown prince everyone's complaining about, he's allowed movie theaters in Saudi Arabia for the first time. He's also thrown the most radical Imams in prison.

    Is that what "Wahabis" means to you?

  • Kivlor||

    Stop pointing out that the King of Wahabiland is actually an apostate. He's got enough problems.

    But seriously, he's done a lot to change their nation in a VERY short time. Enough that honestly I don't expect him to survive it unless he gets very violent and repressive with the Wahabbis.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    "I don't expect him to survive it unless he gets very violent and repressive with the Wahhabis"

    Which he won't

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Saudi Arabia and Israel may soon learn the cost of becoming right-left dividers in American politics and aligning with America's conservatives.

    Couldn't happen to two nicer authoritarian belligerents.

  • MJBinAL||

    Oh Arty, every day, in every way, you demonstrate what a wild bigot you are. Don't change buddy, you serve as an excellent example to others .. of what not to be.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Do you believe that Israel aligns explicitly with Conservatives? That is, they decide their policy to align with American conservatives?

  • Hank Phillips||

    I believe I am tired of mystical medieval grudges on the other side of the planet. The US has electricity thanks to nuclear reactors... in Canada where they're as legal and harmless as marijuana. We could profit by learning from Canada how best to ignore pre-Renaissance superstitions on the other side of the planet--and generate power from rocks, not fuel oil. Oh, and Canada has an effective Libertarian Party that repeals bad laws through spoiler votes and is not infiltrated by Ku-Klux Dixiecrats or God's Own Prohibitionists.

  • buybuydandavis||

    The Left sure does hate Israel. Klan making a comeback in the Democratic ranks.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I don't like immoral right-wing belligerence in America. Why would I wish to subsidize it in Israel?

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|10.16.18 @ 8:57PM|#
    "I don't like immoral right-wing belligerence in America. Why would I wish to subsidize it in Israel?"You're confused, asshole, and not for the first time.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Watching right-wing asswipes like you sputter may be the best part of winning the culture war.

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|10.16.18 @ 11:39PM|#
    "Watching right-wing asswipes like you sputter may be the best part of winning the culture war."

    Watching lefty loser like you whine about losing is a real pleasure, you fucking lefty ignoramus.

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|10.16.18 @ 5:34PM|#
    "Saudi Arabia and Israel may soon learn the cost of becoming right-left dividers in American politics and aligning with America's conservatives."

    This asshole's predictions are right up there with "HRC's gonna WIN!!!!"

  • Echospinner||

    Heh. Anyway here is my take if we are talking about Saudi - Iran conflict concerning Israel.

    Hezbollah is the threat to Israel. Iran not so much if they are busy fighting the Saudis. I think the gap between Hezbollah and Iran has grown wider in recent years with the Syrian war. Hezbollah are Lebanese not Persian and Iran is not sending buckets of money they no longer have.

    So Hez will act in what they think is in their own interest. Sure they could start a war but it would cost them deeply and not change anything on the ground. They have missiles and Israel owns the sea and air. Ground action would be a bloody mess all around.

    Hez did a lot of fighting in Syria, Iran as usual not so much. Israel has launched attacks targeted at preventing Iranian bases in Syria and transfer of weapons. They also have provided medical care and aid to south Syrians. The UN is back and the border should go back to status quo as the war winds down.

    Iran is a paper tiger with an economy in trouble. I think that US support for Saudis and Israel helps keep the balance of power and prevent war.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Selling the Saudis our military hardware makes it less likely that we'll need to send our own troops into the region.

    Not selling them our hardware--isn't that what we're really threatening not to do?

  • Rich||

    Ah, but won't we need to send our maintenance contractors in?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Not sure where this is coming from, but I suspect the defense contractors making these deals are more than happy to sell the Saudis a maintenance contract.

  • Echospinner||

    And upgrades for tanks and aircraft. Saw they wanted some of those. Also the regular stuff bombs, anti tank missiles just the off the shelf stuff.

  • Just Say'n||

    "The Saudis Need Us, Not the Other Way Around"

    But, when people say this about NATO, some lose their collective shit and write long apologias about NATO and the Cold War, as if it's perpetually 1991

  • Ken Shultz||

    Selling military hardware to the Saudis gives the left the jitters--unless Hillary Clinton is getting her cut off the top.

    Obama sending palate loads of cash to the Iranians, on the other hand, isn't any cause for concern.

  • SimonP||

    It's funny you should mention the Iranian cash - which was their cash, withheld pursuant to sanctions. Because Pompeo's own whitewashing performance just-so-happened to coincide with Saudi Arabia paying over $100mm to the State Department in order to assist with U.S. efforts in Syria.

    No biggie, right?

  • Libertymike||

    You mean 1981, right?

  • Just Say'n||

    Nah, I was thinking more along the lines of the adulation and canonization of the NATO pact that occurred shortly after the end of the Cold War. A defensive pact of convenience quickly was transformed into a global police force by right

  • Lester224||

    Same difference. If we believe in toughness with much more benign states than the Saudis (remember all the Saudi 9-11 plane pilots) why shouldn't we be tough with the Saudis. Saudis are not more valuable to us than Europe.

  • Rich||

    The State Department described the talks as "direct and candid;"

    What?! Not "productive"?!

  • MJBinAL||

    So far, other than talking mean to them, Trump has been much nicer to journalists than Obama was.

    Remember demanding journalists give up their confidential sources?
    Remember kicking Fox out of press briefings?

    So far I don't believe any journalists have spent time in jail for failing to give up sources during the Trump administration. Obama on the other hand, more than one.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Trump makes authoritarian lefties super mad. Lefties are friendly to other authoritarians.

  • Ben_||

    What difference does it make who needs who? Who needed that guy the Saudis killed? Did you? Did the US?

    How is it any of the US's business?

  • Echospinner||

    Killing is fine but you know, there are rules for this sort of thing.

    It will blow over anyway.

    Always follow the money as any good spy knows.

    The Saudis have the money but apparently crappy spies.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'm open to the question of US involvement in this, but "Who needed that guy person?" is a horrible question to ask. People have dignity outside of pure use.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Not the job of the US government to protect the "dignity" of everyone on the planet.

    The press has their panties in a wad because the cosmo globalist press corps are *entitled* to protection mere plebes are not.

  • Red Tony||

    Kirkland does his best to disprove your hypothesis with every post he makes.

  • Ben_||

    I don't know anything about him.

    We're being told by the news media we have to be interested and it matters a lot. Why? Why should we be asking whether we need the Saudis? Is this guy more valuable than our relationship with the Saudis? I don't think so.

    Don't let the news media control you.

  • Sevo||

    "People have dignity outside of pure use."

    True, but there are certain finite limits to my concern for a single individual whom I have never met.
    I ask you to turn YOUR attention and concern to:
    "Head of Interpol Meng Hongwei reported missing after leaving for China"
    https://metro.co.uk/2018/10/05/head-of-
    interpol-meng-hongwei-reported-missing
    -after-leaving-for-china-8008949/?ito=cbshare

    Simply, I could cull the news on a daily basis and find numerous humans mistreated-to-killed by their governments. No, I'm not happy Koshaggi seems to have met his end where and how he did, but exactly how much value do I give tothat and what would I have the US gov't do in response?
    Not a whole lot. About as much as it did when Erdogan staged his coup (and there's more than a bit of irony in his outrage).
    Also, simply, the near east (with Israel as good as an exception as you can find) is a hell-hole of feudalistic states, one worse than the other, all held together by a religion dedicated to preserving the 7th century.
    Sorry, THEY are going to have to work that out. I got better things to do.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    When Israel pays for aligning with America's right-wingers, it will be an apt lesson for the rest of the world.

  • Red Tony||

    Sevo says nothing pertaining to Israel. You proceed to accuse Israel of "aligning with America's right-wingers" without providing any sort of proof and implicitly suggest that you'd love to see Israel fall–the result of which would be a culling of Jewish lives on the level of the Holocaust. Of course, if you respond to this, it will simply be to pull out another long harangue where you mock your imaginary vision of people with politics you disagree with rather than confronting the accusation, which actually makes you a worse debater than most people who oppose Israel; they would at least acknowledge the accusation and counter with the claim that they are "anti-Zionist, not anti-Semetic". Consequently, I feel that it is in everyone's best interests if I quote Sevo by telling you to fuck off, shitstain.

  • Echospinner||

    So I follow medical tech news. From the Times of Israel today.

    "Israel's Aidoc, a maker of software that helps radiologists in their work, is on a roll: In August the company said it received US Food and Drug Administration approval for its first product, a deep learning solution that assists radiologists in detecting acute brain bleeds in CT scans, and earlier this month the startup was listed by Time magazine as one of the 50 Genius companies for 2018, along with the likes of Apple, Airbnb and Spotify."

    This is awesome. This software will scan the CT and target it as the one to be read now. Brain bleeds minutes count. This is the first program to accomplish this in CT and passed FDA approval.

    The company is working on other applications.

    https://www.aidoc.com/

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|10.16.18 @ 11:41PM|#
    "When Israel pays for aligning with America's right-wingers, it will be an apt lesson for the rest of the world."

    I have to admit a real sorrow that your mom didn't decide on an abortion, asshole. The world would have been a better place.
    Please send me her address so I can send her a note to commiserate that a fucking lefty ignoramus like you was born.

  • Kivlor||

    Careful there Kirkland, you're starting to sound like a far-right antisemite

  • Echospinner||

    There is a lot of talk about the weapons sales. Details are hard to find. I did see something about an order for TOW missiles. They could get comparable weapons elsewhere. Most other things, upgrades weapons, and parts for aircraft and tanks for example they are stuck with us for the foreseeable future unless they start from scratch.

    What happened with Khashoggi is bizarre. What were they thinking? If they wanted to assassinate him why do it in the embassy which they know is under surveillance. If they wanted to kidnap him they obviously botched it. This does not look at all like a pro operation. Chicago gang members could have done a better job.

    There is more there. The pieces do not fit together.

  • BigT||

    "The pieces do not fit together"

    Just match the marks left by the bone saw.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Well Shiites, I say this half tongue in cheek, really actually believing in religious freedom as well as other freedoms...

    I am pretty much in favor of getting in a pissing contest with the Saudis. They are totally retro bastards, less freedom-loving than the much-maligned Iranians!

    But if we are going to go the route that the Swiss did by popular vote, some years ago as I recall... And forbid the building of new Islamic mosques in the USA...

    Then I ask just ONE thing: Make it conditional!!! We just want the Saudis to permit the building of religious buildings other than Sunni Islam! In their nation, where they allow the building of NOTHING other than Sunni mosques! As soon as the Saudis allow real diversity... THEN we will allow the building of more Islamic mosques in the USA!

    (I advocate the HIGH route, and NOT do that; I am just saying IF we have an anti-Islamic hissy fit anyway, then make it very pointedly conditional).

  • Pro Libertate||

    "Egrecious?" What does that mean? One who leaves Greece, perhaps?

  • Don't look at me!||

    Common misspelling.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Only if you ignore that squiggly red line under the word

  • Tony||

    Okay so I guess the Trump toadstool polishing line of the day is "Who cares if they killed the guy, he wasn't even a full citizen." Glad to know life is so paperwork-dependent here in libertopia, but put that aside.

    The real problem is the president of the United States is taking lies and talking points from the Saudi regime and favoring them over his own intelligence agencies. Same with Putin and Kim Jong Un. That should be disturbing even to a libertarian who definitely has no partisan dog in the hunt for sure.

  • Don't look at me!||

    What would the correct mode of action be ? What would you do about this if you were in the Oval Office?

  • Tony||

    Above my pay grade, but since the president is a traitorous infant, I can tell you what I wouldn't do: take the side of every shitfuck brutal dictator in the world over America, that's what.

    Do they make nooses big enough for that fat orange fuck's fat neck?

  • buybuydandavis||

    He wasn't even a partial US citizen.
    Foreign Muslim Brotherhood shouldn't be allowed in the country.

  • XM||

    So what's the option? Stop trades with Saudi Arabia? Place sanctions on the kingdom?

  • ||

    Yes, yes, plus end All support for the atrocious war on Yemen. If there can be sanctions on Iran, Russia or Cuba, why not Saudi Arabia? No war is necessary, but friendship is not necessary either, since Saudi Arabia is not, and never was, nor a friend nor an ally to anyone, let alone the U.S. It is just another one crazy dictatorship interested in nothing but their regional power. Plus they are super-crazy islamist nutjobs, much more so than the Iranians. What makes Iran worse than them? That they are developing the bomb? Please, they are not going to use it no matter what they just want to be the most powerful country in the region. When these shitholes are fighting for regional dominance, the U.S. really doesn't need to take a side. Most of these so -called "geopolitics" is all about dirty business of a few guys- nothing to do with any values, or even important security matters.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    The interesting, heretofore unacknowledged (at least in this forum) is the WWE, which for the second year is holding a major PPV event in Saudi Arabia called "Crown Jewel". The Saudis are ponying up millions more for the WWE talent than they could make at any other promotion. The Saudis also do not permit women wrestlers, announcers or commentators (all of which WWE employs) to participate (WWE says that they hope to see this policy eased as future promotions take place; right). To their credit several Senators have called on WWE to stop this event; to its eternal shame WWE has so far chosen the money over principle, which will among other things effectively help legitimize the Saudi regime to some meaningful segment of the American (and world) population.

  • jdgalt1||

    Oh, please, throw me (us) in the briar patch: make oil cost $200/barrel! We now produce more of it than Saudi Arabia!

    As far as Khashoggi: that sounds like a wonderful excuse to entirely or mostly withdraw the US from Middle East affairs (where it appears likely that Iran is going to square off against Saudi Arabia, with Turkey probably coming in on Iran's side and Israel, maybe, on the Saudi side). Let them blow each other to hell while we pass the popcorn!

  • AlmightyJB||

    One guy gets killed and it's WW3? Was he an Archduke or something? You know how many children have been killed in that region over the last several decades, many from our bombs? Fuck that journalist.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Fuck that journalist.

    Open wider, AlmightyJB. Your betters have more progress to shove down your whining, uneducated, authoritarian right-wing throat. Even after a half-century of American progress, it never gets old. Now be nicer or maybe we'll start positioning all of this damned reason, science, liberty, education, tolerance, and modernity sideways before shoving.

  • Red Tony||

    We get it, you're a rapist. Get some new material, or at least make friends with STEVE SMITH.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    It's not assault to impose progress -- modernity, liberty, education, reason, science, tolerance, inclusivity -- on stale-thinking, half-educated, gullible, ignorant, intolerant, insular conservatives.

    It's the American way. You guys should learn to accept it, or maybe move.

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|10.16.18 @ 11:45PM|#
    'It's not assault to impose progress -- modernity, liberty, education, reason, science, tolerance, inclusivity -- on stale-thinking, half-educated, gullible, ignorant, intolerant, insular conservatives.
    It's the American way. You guys should learn to accept it, or maybe move."

    Intolerant asshole posts more bullshit

  • Dont Tread On Womyn||

    Do you talk this way out loud ? The way you write reminds me of a crazy homeless guy who gets on the subway holding up a cardboard sign about the apocalypse, yelling at everyone about how they're going to hell rephrasing the same sentence over and over for 10 minutes straight until he gets off the train only to do the same thing on the platform and presumably everywhere he goes all day long. Like, exact same level of vocabulary and coherence.

  • Red Tony||

    Oh come now, most of those homeless people don't shit themselves on the regular.

  • Dont Tread On Womyn||

    For real tho, if you were to talk this way to anyone in an argument face-to-face, no one would take you seriously, and they'd probably just feel bad for you, as I do.

  • Cyto||

    Well, that certainly is confusing. The right wing, authoritarian response is to not go to war over what is likely a political killing of a Saudi citizen by the Saudi Arabian government?

  • Sevo||

    "The right wing, authoritarian response is to not go to war over what is likely a political killing of a Saudi citizen by the Saudi Arabian government?"

    Shorter asshole:
    'If Trump is doing it, it is all those horrible things and I'm far superior!!!!!'

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|10.16.18 @ 9:04PM|#
    "Open wider, AlmightyJB"

    Keep signalling your pathetic attempts at self-righteousness, asshole

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I am declaring victory in the culture war, loser. Your betters have beaten you, for good reason.

  • Red Tony||

    I am declaring victory in the culture war

    Which culture war? The one where you're an asshole and people tell you you're an asshole and you refuse to change? Because if so I agree. You are an asshole who doesn't change. Go ahead and hang your hat on that.

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|10.16.18 @ 11:46PM|#
    "I am declaring victory in the culture war, loser. Your betters have beaten you, for good reason."

    You pathetic excuse for humanity, you're welcome to "declare" anything you please. While the world laughs.
    Fuck off

  • Cyto||

    So, Daniel, you seen the discussion. The libertarian commentary it seems to have a consensus that's the real question here is why would we be marching towards War, or at least a trade-stifling sanction-fest over Saudi Arabia killing one of their own citizens in Turkey, on Saudi Arabian soil?

    You wrote this whole article about how we can totally forgo a half a trillion dollars in arms sales in order to properly punish this action. So, do you have a response? You kind of skipped ahead to the "do we have the ability to punish them?" part of the discussion without really resolving the "why is this a top priority for American foreign policy?" question.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    No libertarian has any regard for the Saudis.

    Plenty of right-wing malcontents seem to slobber all over Saudi knob, though.

    Carry on, clingers.

  • Cyto||

    That was an incoherent and non sequitur non response. I get that you only see things in terms of Democrats and Republicans. But what is the isolationist vs. Globalist position? What about the neocon Warhawk versus the leftist peace Nick?

    Or more to the point, the libertarian non-aggression principle versus finding random provocations to use as an excuse for invading foreign countries.

    I get that these are Arcane ideas. But reason is theoretically a magazine dedicated to exploring these ideologies and how they fit into the world.

  • Red Tony||

    Valid questions, which only guarantees that Kirkland will make some rapey comment about shoving progress down the throats of [insert slur against imaginary Americans] rather than seeking to answer or address them.

  • Red Tony||

    OH! I CALLED IT! I FUCKING CALLED IT! LOOK BELOW THIS COMMENT AND YOU'LL SEE IT!

    He does preface it by calling out the Saudis, but then the second part is [slur against imaginary Americans]. And he NEVER addresses the actual issue.

  • Sevo||

    "And he NEVER addresses the actual issue."
    Like turd, Tony and JFree, addressing the facts of the issue is not within their abilities; that would mean admitting that the hag lost on merits, and not a one of them is willing to do so.
    I'm sure some psyche-major could apply the label regarding such infintalism, but I'm simply willing to call them on their bullshit.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    America should stop appeasing, defending, arming, and enabling the Saudi government, which is a retrograde, dangerous, authoritarian, ugly, reprehensible stain on our planet. Any libertarian knows this.

    Apologizing for the Saudis because of an overstated desire to profit from weapons sales is the work of character-deprived, authoritarian, dumb people.

  • Sevo||

    Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland|10.16.18 @ 11:50PM|#
    "America should stop appeasing, defending, arming, and enabling the Saudi government, which is a retrograde, dangerous, authoritarian, ugly, reprehensible stain on our planet. Any libertarian knows this.
    Apologizing for the Saudis because of an overstated desire to profit from weapons sales is the work of character-deprived, authoritarian, dumb people."

    Asshole's rant is an asshole'd rant.
    Fuck off, asshole.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    In case you forgot, it was Obama who bowed to the Saudi king.

    Carry on, bigoted ignoramus

  • mtrueman||

    "why is this a top priority for American foreign policy?" question"

    Look at it as a test of leadership.

  • Cyto||

    How so?

  • mtrueman||

    In two ways, Leadership of the president, whether or not he can bring to bear his personal influence on Saudi royals, and leadership of the nation in the international system.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    I think it safe to say that Trump has little personal influence on world affairs generally, and almost none in the Middle East. The general perception of him outside our borders is that he is even more of a lightweight than Obama was, impossible as that might seem

  • Cyto||

    The analysis of what would happen if Saudi Arabia cut its oil production is flawed. The fact that we only import 9% of our oil from Saudi Arabia is fairly irrelevant.

    Oil is a fungible resource. If any oil producer anywhere in the world produces more oil, the global price of oil drops. The same goes if oil production is reduced. Even if we did not import any oil, falling supplies across the globe would put domestic consumers in direct competition with consumers around the world. US producers would be able to sell their product at higher prices overseas, so they would.

    The arguments against getting into a dispute with Saudi Arabia involving canceling arms deals and dealing with retaliatory Cuts in oil production are identical to the arguments against getting in trade Wars with China. Prices to Consumers domestically would go up. The cost to Saudi Arabia of losing the US arms deal would be that they would have to go buy weapon systems more cheaply from Russia. Or perhaps China. That is it.

    they don't have to do anything with oil production. They could simply choose to take their business elsewhere.

    Isn't about us needing them more than them needing us. It is about a mutually beneficial relationship. It is not based on the Sauds having amazing virtue.

  • Cyto||

    A further bit on the Saudi Arabian oil production cuts... They don't have to cut the production much in order to spike Global prices. In fact, if they were to cut production by say 10% there's a very good chance that their net income would go up. A 10% cut in Saudi Arabian oil production could very well result in a doubling of the global price of oil. There is a slightly inflexible floor to the demand for oil. We have seen that if prices get too high, additional supplies come online and demand is reduced through increased efficiency. But those are trailing responses that take many months or years to come online.

    So the Saudi Arabians may have someone with a nice spreadsheet that shows that they can net a 20% boost in income by cutting production by 10 or 20%. Part of our relationship with Saudi Arabia over the last 30 or more years has been directly related to controlling the price of oil and keeping them from exercising their power with OPEC to raise oil prices.

    This has been something they have always wanted to do, restrict production and increase profits. Keeping the price of oil under $100 a barrel has been a concession on their part.I hardly think that watching the price of oil increase has them quaking in their boots. Their relationship with us is more based on needing protection from their stronger Neighbors.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Perhaps, if America withdrew support for the retrograde assholes who currently rule Saudi Arabia, the royals would be removed and a better situation would develop.

    I am not calling for the immediate killing of every Saudi royal. I would give them an entire day to disclaim royalty (and royalty-related assets) and leave the country safely.

  • Red Tony||

    >be Kirkland
    >notice that Saudi Arabia is a Muslim hellhole surrounded by Muslim hellholes
    >notice that the rulers of Saudi Arabia are not very nice people
    >suggest the Saudi government should be toppled by Americans
    >ignore the fact that the Saudis are the Muslim country in that part of the world doing the most to further equal rights (admittedly not a high bar to clear)
    >ignore the fact that the highest position in the country is held by a person doing his best to liberalize the country (at least in comparison with the other Muslim hellholes)
    >ignore the fact that every toppled government in that part of the world has been replaced with a highly conservative religious government
    >ignore the fact that toppling governments in the Muslim world just leads to more pissed-off Muslims inclined to commit terror attacks against America
    >call everyone who disagrees a disaffected bigot
    >ignore own rampant bigotry
    >fantasize about raping people
    >post rape fantasies online
    >become rightfully reviled by everyone
    >conclude everybody is a low-class low-income low-intelligence bigot
    >feel superior
    >be mocked roundly by everybody
    >ignore deep-rooted feelings of shame
    >shit pants

  • Sevo||

    ">shit pants"

    'Cause loser asshole refuses to grow up.

  • Red Tony||

    That, and every Kirkland fanfic needs to end with him shitting himself.

    (Side note: are they still fanfics if nobody's actually a fan of him?)

  • Kivlor||

    Kirkland's right, the Saudi King is retrograde. Saudi Arabia will be a much more progressive place if we topple the Kingdom and install a Wahabi Imam as the leader.

  • BigT||

    It worked in Libya...

    Oh, wait....

  • vek||

    Cyto, this actually goes against ALL of the reading I was doing on oil over the last few years. Admittedly, I haven't kept up as much lately. But from what I was reading a few years back, it should be basically impossible for oil to rise IN THE LONG TERM too much above $60 a barrel. Why? Because in the $40s and $50s is when a TON of the American shale becomes profitable. By $60 or so so much of it is profitable, we could jack our production through the roof, so basically no single country can really rock the global market, because we just need to turn on the taps.

    Many wells were already sunk during the initial boom, and have simply been shut off, or had production cut. I've actually been surprised oil has gone as high as it has recently, because I don't see why this basic dynamic would have changed in the last couple years. Short term prices can be jacked, but long term we aren't likely to see sky high oil prices for MANY years. Until we deplete our shale strikes basically.

  • Cyto||

    I remember the same thing. It actually happened. But the price was more like $80 per barrel for the initial investment and then around $65 per barrel for ongoing profitability. They shut off the taps when the price fell to $60 because they were not making money. Of course, it depends on what kind of oil you are talking about.

    The Persian Gulf has the good stuff. Canada and Venezuela less so. American shale is kinda in the middle, if I recall.

    Anyway, Brent is up around $80 right now. So we should be in line to see another boom in the Dakotas soon if things continue apace.

  • Cyto||

    But back to the point about production cuts.

    Right now Saudi Arabia ships about 10 million barrels per day. That's $800 million bucks at $80 per barrel - our putative cutoff for American product flooding the market.

    Let's say they cut production to 9 million barrels per day, and the price rises to $100 per barrel. That's $900 million per day.

    I'd say that's a pretty reasonable number for a price rise - conservative even. So if it takes 3 months for prices to stabilize at a lower price, you are still looking at a net of $9 billion in extra cash for the trouble of not selling oil that you can just sell later.

    And those are probably conservative numbers. An immediate panic spike could drive the price much higher, and it might take longer than 3 months for production to fully replace the withdrawn oil.

    Plus, you have the old OPEC alliance. It is entirely possible that a political realignment could resurrect the power of OPEC and lead to further cuts from oil allies. Russia figures into this as well.... they'd love to get their hands on those Saudi contracts and influence over the region's oil. And they are a big oil producer themselves.

    The point being, it is all quite complex and saying "we'll just use our own oil, thank you" doesn't really address the issues in a satisfactory manner.

  • vek||

    You're probably correct for where we really hit "almost all" of our oil being profitable. I do remember some of the better strikes being lower in the $40s/50s, but it picking up a lot in the $60s.

    As far as your scenario, it makes sense. They could do it to screw with us, but it won't last long unless multiple other major players get on board. They do have the light sweet crude, and other places have less desirable oil... But we have capacity to refine all different grades in the USA, this is one of our real strong suits. Many oil producing nations don't hardly have any refining capacity. If we were having to refine ALL lower grade oils, we might max out capacity to handle those grades, because I think many refineries are only setup to work with specific grades.

    Ah, who knows. Either way I don't anticipate $200 oil really being likely without a global cabal deciding to all do it.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Besides the boy-crush on The Don, what qualifies DePetris to publish in a libertarian magazine? A Saudi-backed stir-fried journalist-with-broccoli to-go franchise? All the guy's "factual" premises are predictions he imagines will materialize, then works backward from as if modus ponens meant time travel that turns hunches into true premises yielding valid conclusions. This is standard conservative BS, much like what flies in the Mohammedan country that exported the suicide hijackers to New York and the Pentagon.

  • Sevo||

    Hank,
    Take 'way more drugs or less. One day you'll post something that makes sense to the rest of the world.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Sevo's ability to mumble semi-coherently with his tongue buried in Trump's ass deserves a scant measure of respect.

    Can you see enough down there to judge Stormy Daniels' assessment of Trump's tiny dick, Sevo?

  • JeremyR||

    The Saudis killed an enemy of their government.

    It looks bad, but really, governments do that all the time. Does that mean we should all suffer by doubling gas prices? Doesn't anyone remember the oil embargo of the 70s? While they likely won't be a shortage, like there was back then (I remember my parents waiting in line for gas), it could easily cause oil to hit $150 a barrel.

  • ||

    Governments do that all the time, so it is... acceptable? Normal? Nothing to fuss about? I'd say accepting it as normal without sanctions sets a very bad example for liberty throughout the world. You wouldn't be saying the same if it was your journalist and your government. Or is it OK if everyone lives under a tyranny, až long as the US remains relatively free? Military actions against dictatorships are not necessary, but neither is friendship with them. It is possible to have normal working relationships with shithole countries without kissing their asses. All it takes is to stop kissing their asses, they will accomodate and stop demanding it, since they don't have a choice. The US does.

  • vek||

    So this is almost a slight rehashing of something I posted above... But in what world can they push oil prices up that much? Other than perhaps on a VERY short term basis at least.

    From all the reading I did a few years ago, American shale becomes profitable largely at $40-50 a barrel, and a HUGE flood of it by $60... So they were talking about a few years ago how it's unlikely to drive even much beyond that, because we have such massive reserves on tap, much of it already surveyed, or even drilled, during the last boom.

    From that reading I did, I've been surprised it's even got where it is now. But unless something major has changed in terms of costs of getting it out of the ground, I don't see why that still wouldn't hold true. SURE OPEC could jack it short term. That's a given. But then we would knock it back down. The only way they could REALLY jack prices would be to cut production SO MUCH that we couldn't produce enough to offset no matter how hard we tried... But that would also BK the entire middle east... So don't see that happening.

    Does anybody know what, if anything, has changed to make the above scenario no longer the likely outcome if it stays even in the $70s-80s for any length of time?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Another great meeting of Libertarians For Appeasing And Arming Murderous Medieval Dictators.

    Convened by the class of libertarians who support government womb management, tariffs, bigoted and authoritarian immigration policies, statist micromanagement of health clinics for women, broad protectionism, and voter suppression -- the delusional right-wingers who prance around in silly libertarian drag that is convincing solely among themselves.

  • Kivlor||

    Reason last week: Trade Wars Are Bad and Any Time We Engage in One We Lose.

    Reason this week: We Need a Trade War with Saudi Arabia NOW!! There's No Way We Could Lose!

  • Inigo Montoya||

    Speaking of benighted, half-educated, can't-keep-up backwaters full of bigots, why no love for Saudi Arabia?

    They WISH going all BTK killer on an American permanent residence was the worst thing they've done!

    We're talking about a place where women can't even leave the house to get groceries without a man accompanying them, where gays are executed, and where cultish crap religion is so important, they seek to brainwash kids into it even in other countries. Perhaps worst of all, they can't even claim poverty as an excuse for their backwardness.

    To paraphrase Jesse Ventura in Predator, "This shit's something. Makes Mississippi look like Montreux. You lose it here, you're tortured in an embassy basement."

  • Inigo Montoya||

    That said, it is not our business to topple their regime, or anyone else's no matter how crappy it is.

    I'm 100% non-interventionist. Trade with anyone who wants to trade, I say. It is up to the people in those countries to tolerate their awful governments—not our business.

    It's hilarious that our resident left-wing troll has, at least in this thread, been sounding more like an angry zombie Charles Krauthammer than his usual supercilious and judgemental pseudo-elitist self.

  • SimonP||

    I'm sickened by the response of so many commenters here, so quick to excuse the Saudi regime and to wave off the U.S.'s embarrassing demonstration of subservience to this inferior regime.

    People need to understand that Saudi Arabia isn't going to stop at killing non-U.S. citizen critics, not after we've clearly conveyed that the U.S. president cares more about billion-dollar arms deals than human rights abuses. Russia isn't going to stop at poisoning informants on foreign soil, when the "cost" is some weakly-enforced sanctions and symbolic diplomat shuffling.

    As is his wont, the president's response to this is gullible, short-sighted, and puts all Americans in danger. If you think there is anything about his approach to the Kashoggi scandal that would have been any different, had he been killed on U.S. soil, was a legal U.S. resident, or even a U.S. citizen, then you're delusional. These regimes will become more forceful and audacious, the more that Trump signals that he doesn't care. And I'll bet you bunch of morons will celebrate him just the same.

  • Kivlor||

    Indifference is not subservience

  • Kivlor||

    As to the rest of your comment, you are being ridiculous. most people view foreigners killing foreigners on foreign soil as completely unworthy of attention, and we dont equate that with killing Americans here or abroad, or killing foreigners on American soil.

    FWIW I have a long history of promoting a simple foreign policy: Complete withdrawal from "rules of war" treaties, and complete annihilation of any nation that kidnaps or kills Americans.

  • SimonP||

    While you may draw a difference between killing American citizens on American soil and killing Saudi citizens while on Turkish soil, it's not at all clear that Trump would, and his bungling of the Kashoggi assassination don't suggest to me that he has any interest in defending even Americans against foreign aggression if, as he and Pompeo have put it, there are larger, more strategic interests to consider.

    That is what should make your blood run cold. Unless you happen to be immune to novichok.

  • CGN||

    Having read the other comments, now comes, thankfully, a REASONABLE comment, a.k.a. mine. It is more than a little crazy to think nothing of the murder of this man. It is also a little more than crazy to expect good to come from a withdrawal such as Kivior suggests. Saudi Arabia is NOTHING compared to the U.S., and there should NEVER be a time when the U.S. "entreats" the Saudis to stop doing their wicked work. Apparently, the Saudis did NOT learn the "lesson" Saddam Hussein learned, and if we need to "Saddam" every sheik in that benighted country until they get the message, so be it. The U.S. is NOT required to extend rights to non-citizens, and has every right to do whatever it takes to secure itself and other decent peoples in the world.

  • vek||

    If Saudi Arabia is worth sanctioning for killing one shitty journalist... Why aren't be putting a full embargo on a communist regime that kills thousands a year? One that sells the organs of executed prisoners for a profit to foreigners? One that censors the internet? One that commits espionage against our nation constantly?

    Are iPhones somehow THAT much more important that oil?

    I am of course speaking of Communist China...

    The cognitive dissonance from Reason is mind boggling.

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