Bush's Middle East Visit Is a Con Game and We're Supposed to Be the Suckers

Shadow Play in the Middle East

Much of the reporting of President Bush’s trip to the Middle East is shadow play, an incredible con game. The suckers are the American public.

Today’s headline, for instance, has Bush telling Saudi King Abdullah that the high price of oil is hurting the U.S. economy. This, the White House press people, reporters and editors apparently all agree, is front page material. But who are they kidding?

The Saudi leaders and their good, old family friend, George Bush have known for ages about the havoc that rocketing oil prices are wreaking on the U.S. economy. All along, in fact, the Bush administration has been cautiously attempting to convince the Saudis, OPEC’s largest producer, to keep prices down. To no avail.

Back in April 2005, for instance, in Crawford Texas, when Bush last met King Abdullah face to face before he took over the Saudi throne, the subject of high oil prices came up. Oil then was selling for $54 a barrel. It’s now $94.

What new leverage does George W. Bush suddenly have?

Instead, he comes bearing gifts. To thank the Saudis for supporting the latest, feeble U.S. peace efforts in the Middle East, Bush is promising them 20 billion dollars in sophisticated weapons—including 121 million dollars worth of precision guided bombs.

But to defend the Saudis against whom? Iran? Does anyone really think the mullahs in Tehran are going to dispatch their forces to attack the Saudis? Or are the Saudis supposed to use those arms against Iraq’s shattered forces? Or is it just a great way for the Saudis to recycle some of their petroleum wealth back to U.S. industry?

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