Don't Know – It Just Is
For almost 40 years Thomas Friedman has been an intelligent and energetic and thoughtful observer of the world, and his columns and books on foreign policy and developing economies have provided great insight into the world. But he has a fatal flaw, an incurable optimism that defies reality.
Friedman is famous for believing that the U. S. could reform and rebuilt Iraq into a western style democracy. That failed, as it had to, but Friedman never learned. Now he is gushing over the potential reforms in Saudi Arabia that have little chance of succeeding in the long run. He writes about the current leader, whom he calls M. B. S. and that person's anti-corruption/modernazation drive.
But guess what? This anticorruption drive is only the second-most unusual and important initiative launched by M.B.S. The first is to bring Saudi Islam back to its more open and modern orientation — whence it diverted in 1979. That is, back to what M.B.S. described to a recent global investment conference here as a “moderate, balanced Islam that is open to the world and to all religions and all traditions and peoples.”
The problem of course is that unifying force of the Arab and Persian Middle East is hatred of Jews and Israel. The leaders of Saudi Arabia will have to unite the different factions, and will do so by continuing and increasing their attacks on Israel, both verbal and military. They cannot do otherwise a and still stay in power. This will be under the radar, but it will happen.
Saudi Arabia will always be a hotbed of hatred of Jews. Call us when that nation recognizes Israel, but we won't be standing by the phone. You can fool Friedman most of the time, but you cannot fool those of us living in the real world.