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America's Resigning Allies

Other countries don't want to follow America's lead anymore.

By Petrarch  |  October 22, 2013

The history of humanity proves that it's in the nature of human beings to seek power.  The same is true of every human entity, whether it be a family, a religion, a business, or, yes, a country.  Everyone wants "more" for themselves and their organization, whatever it may be.

Given this amply-demonstrated historical reality, when an important nation unaccountably and without warning turns down a position of significant global power that had just been handed to it on a silver platter, it's a major warning that something odd and noteworthy is going on.  That's what just happened at the United Nations, as the Times of India tells us:

Saudi Arabia on Friday renounced a rotating UN security council seat that was there for the taking, evidently miffed with its long-time patron United States' overtures to Iran, among other peeves.

The unexpected Saudi rejection came just hours after the kingdom was elected unopposed on Thursday night as one of the council's 10 nonpermanent members. The two-year stint is prized by member countries because it gives them a temporary seat alongside the five permanent members, albeit without veto power.

A Rock? Or A Hard Place?

On the face of things, this makes no sense.  A rotating seat on the UN Security Council doesn't automatically make a nation a global hegemon, but it certainly puts them at the table with the big boys.  It also delivers actual direct power over world events: while only the five permanent Great Powers hold vetoes over Security Council resolutions, in order to actually pass a resolution you need a majority of all members.

With a seat on the Council, Saudi Arabia would be in a prime spot to influence world events that matter to it - resolutions concerning Israel and the Palestinians, Syria, Iran, Iraq, and so on.  It might be possible for embargoes, trade restrictions, weapons bans, even authorizations for force to be passed over Saudi Arabia's "no" vote, but certainly not without their being listened to carefully and with respect by everyone else.

Or so you'd think.  The fact that Saudi Arabia passed up an opportunity that most other second-string countries would (and have) paid fortunes for, speaks disturbing volumes about what they foresee in the future.

In diplomacy, the rules only matter insofar as you're able to enforce them or have friends who'll do it on your behalf.  Saudi Arabia is in a dangerous neighborhood, and has depended on American support for a very long time to protect itself from predators like Saddam Hussein and the mad mullahs of Iran.  In exchange, the Saudis make sure the price of oil doesn't go too high -  it's higher than we'd like, for sure, but a lot less than it could be.

In return, America generally demands Saudi support on the world stage, particularly at the highest levels, and right now Saudi Arabia thinks we're likely to do some bad and worrying things - namely, let Iran off the hook.

The largely Sunni Saudi Arabia is locked in a bitter feud with the mostly Shia Iran. It feels betrayed by Washington's recent advances with Teheran, whose nuclear program it views as a threat, although its own client state Pakistan is said to give the Saudis military and nuclear cover.

Given that hardly a day goes by when the medieval barbarians in charge of Iran don't spew threats against Israel and America, you'd think that any American Prtesident should be counted on to make sure Iran doesn't gain atomic weapons.  That's no longer the case: Barack Obama repeatedly refused to negotiate with Republicans, but he's bent over (literally) to show his willingness to talk to the murderers who invaded our embassy in 1979.

Now, Barack Obama is no Muslim, and the Saudis most certainly are.  Their religion notwithstanding, they know who their enemies are.  By declining a Security Council seat, they are sending a strong message that they no longer trust us to know who our enemies are and to treat them accordingly.

Because if or when Mr. Obama "strikes a deal" with Iran, the sanctions that prevent Iran from freely trading with other nations and earning hard currency to power their war machine will have to be lifted - that's the only thing Iran really cares about and the only reason they'd want to negotiate.  These are UN sanctions, put in place by vote of the Security Council, which must be removed the same way.

When the vote to remove Iran's sanctions comes up, Saudi Arabia would be stuck in a predicament.  Should they vote to remove the chains binding their bitter enemies, who've long since proven to respect neither the lives of their own people or anybody else's?  Or should they vote in favor of their own protection but against the wishes of their powerful erstwhile ally, risking the wrath of a defied Obama?

Better to just avoid the situation entirely and hope for the best.  At least that way the Saudis will have a free hand to do what they need to do to protect themselves without being noticed.

Fart, And You Stand Alone

Saudi Arabia isn't the first of our allies to head for the exit.  England famously refused to support Mr. Obama's military attack on Syria; France also bailed.  But those are midsize powers with their own significant militaries; nobody is going to invade them even if America casts them aside.

For all its wealth, the Saudis are not well endowed with military power.  In spite of their relative powerlessness, they've decided to put some daylight between themselves and us, even though they can't really stand on their own.  In other words, they've decided that's less risky than standing with a great power that's likely to make a horrible mistake and bring disaster down around their ears.

The stench of American incompetence and fecklessness is beginning to fill the room, and those countries who still have noses are noticing and bailing.  Will Mr. Obama notice?  Not a chance; he's still completely surrounded by his nasally-impaired sycophants in the media and won't even realize that something's missing.  We never miss the water 'til the well runs dry.