Big Words and Big Oil Don't Mix

Selection of oil industry lobbyist as next US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia speaks louder than words

Published: 06-Dec-2003

President Bush delivered a major address a few weeks ago about the American duty to promote liberty in the Middle East and to create conditions in which new democracies could flourish.

"Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe," Bush said, "because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty."

The speech was provocative, not least because of what it said about our long-standing relationship with Saudi Arabia. Bush not only included Saudi Arabia as one of those countries that needed more reform, but in doing so he was also implicitly criticizing his own father for being too friendly with the repressive Saudi regime in exchange for military basing rights and a secure supply of cheap crude.

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