Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Serious Business

It's easy to get caught up in nonsense news. Since American culture runs on narcissism, we usually mistake electoral antics for important events.

Like Bridgegate. Chris Christie is a swine so it's gratifying to see his presidential ambitions unraveling over something so stupid and petty, but how much impact does it have in the grand scheme of things? Americans - and those in the NYC-New Jersey area in particular - live under the delusion that their every thought is of profound importance to the world. It's how we got presidential politics that play more like the fight for Homecoming Queen than a serious consideration of how to steer the world's biggest empire for the next four years. If it were, we'd probably be hearing much less about and much much more about how Saudi Arabia could start World War III.

This goes back to last year's flap over US intervention in Syria. Everyone with a brain said it was a stupid idea for various reasons - we'd be helping al Qaeda, you can't just bomb Arabs into peaceable suburbanites, all that stuff we should've figured out ten years ago - but what got less stateside press was how the other regional players were being even more stupid.

The Saudis don't exactly like the Assad regime but, unlike the Israelis, they don't really have a mad-on for rubbing him out. The Syrian war is a convenient dumping ground for young and restless Saudi kids - and convicted murderers - who could stir up trouble in The Kingdom. So they "encourage" these youths and cons to take up global jihad, keeping them occupied in far off lands. Who cares if the world burns in the process?

Putin cares, for one. And so do the Iranians. Israel says it cares but their agenda syncs up with the Saudi agenda so frequently - anti-Assad, anti-Iran - that their antagonism is suspect to say the least...

The thing most Americans don't understand is that Saudi Arabia is really just a very wealthy North Korea. It's the personal fiefdom of a single family who know things like modernity and women's suffrage exist but hey, their House so their rules. Their very regressive rules which would make the state of women in Game of Thrones look like a triumph of feminism - and they get away with it thanks to their massive oil wealth. They get away with a whole bunch thanks to their massive oil wealth and it's reportedly making them cocky.

Getting back to Putin, the big unreported story of 2013 is that one of the bajillion Saudi princes supposedly threatened to set Sochi ablaze if the Kremlin didn't stop it's support of Assad. Really!

"I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future."

“...Chyo ty pizdish?”

It's the "controlled by us" that really gets me. It's certainly been a suspicion that the Saudis were funneling cash to the Chechens - because they funnel cash to every Sunni militia - but to come right out and say "they're our posse" to the leader of a nation that's suffered almost twenty years of Chechen terrorism? Not just say it but use it as leverage in negotiations!? There's ballsy and then there's balls-out insane!

And Putin hasn't been the most stable despot as of late. He's never been a nice guy but he was at least a competent and patient autocrat. But last year, French intelligence was worried a US strike in Syria would prompt Putin to hit Riyadh in retaliation. What happens after that isn't too hard to imagine - America responds, 'cause the Saudis are our "friends" and things quickly go from heated words at the UN to a shooting war in Europe until one side or the other figures "Fuck it!" and just rolls out the nukes.

...So there is in fact some significance to the Christie implosion. Imagine that back-scratching nutter trying to deal with the Saudis, the Israelis, the Iranians, and the ever more pissed off Putin. Even that dipshit Rand Paul would be a better option.

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