Today, as sometimes happens, Nick Kristof makes good sense. He writes about the long-term relationship between Saudi and the US:
We hooked up because we wanted its oil and it wanted our technology and protection. It wasn’t mutual love, but mutual exploitation.
The rumors are that Crown Prince Abdullah, the Saudi leader, frets that American bases are undermining Saudi security (by inflaming fundamentalists) more than bolstering it. And the bases are of dubious value to the United States because the Saudis tightly restrict how we use them.
Moreover, the bases have forced us to compromise our own values. Until this year we required servicewomen leaving the base to wear the black cloaks called abayas; since a lawsuit, we simply “strongly encourage” servicewomen to wear abayas.
Let’s hope we don’t station troops in Sudan; if we do, the Pentagon may encourage Americans to observe local mores like owning slaves and mutilating female genitals.
We need bases in the gulf. But they’ll be more useful to us