Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Frum & Perle: Twenty-Five

AETE, pg 141 and on. Only neocon hacks can complain about relationships between those in the U.S. Government and Saudi Arabia without once mentioning the House of Saud's great and dear friend George W. Bush. Frum and Perle do just that:

There is one more thing to say that must be said, and it is a hard thing to say. The reason our policy toward Saudi Arabia has been so abject for so long is not mere error. Our policy has been abject because so many of those who make the policy have been bought and paid for by the Saudis -- or else are looking forward to the day when they will be bought and paid for. The Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar, "has told associates that he makes a point of staying close to officials who have worked with Saudi Arabia after they leave government service. 'If the reputation then builds that the Saudis take care of friends when they leave office,' Bandar once observed, according to a knowledgeable source, 'you'd be surprised how much better friends you have who are just coming into office.'" With honorable exceptions like Hume Horan, who served Ronald Reagan, too many of our recent ambassadors to Saudi Arabia have served as shills for Saudi Arabia the instant they returned home. Daniel Pipes has proposed that former ambassadors be banned for ten years after their departure from accepting any funds from public or private interests in the country to which they've been accredited. That seems too legalistic to us. We would not have a problem with a former ambassador to Mexico joining the board of a Mexican company two or three years later or a former ambassador to Britain taking a teaching post at Oxford. Saudi Arabia presents a unique problem: Unlike Mexico and unlike Britain, it has over a quarter century spent hundreds of millions of dollars to corrupt the American political system. One picturesque example: Within a month of Bill Clinton's winning the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992, the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce donated $3.5 million to the University of Arkansas to create a "King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies." One month after Clinton's inauguration, the University of Arkansas got $20 million more from the Saudis. When journalists follow policy debates over tobacco or health care or any domestic policy issue, they identify which people are expressing their conscientious beliefs and which are paid lobbyists. The American public should expect equal information when the topic is national security -- and they are especially entitled to it when the lobbyist is lobbying for an unfriendly power.

Where the fuck to begin?

First, Teh Clenis, which they can't resist: They want you to think Clinton was bought by the Saudis, but they don't mention Dear Leader, who is famously close to the Saudi royal family and Prince Bandar in particular.

They reject Pipes's (!) recommendation because a) they don't want to prevent former ambassadors cashing in corporate-whore style on old quid pro quos and b)it's too consistent; all countries would be subject to the rules, not just Saudi Arabia, which Frum and Perle want you to think is the only foriegn power corrupting our politics.