With all the fanfare surrounding our President's European tour, with the entire mini-continent all on Obama's Balzac, it's no surprise that America's conservatives are off their collective nut with rage. They've decided that they hate The Big Brother, that his every action makes the bile rise in their throats. Therefore, they are basically automatically outraged by the man's every action--and every action of his wife.
Earlier this week, the First Lady got into trouble for putting her hand on Queen Elizabeth's shoulder. Outrage ensued--followed quickly by controversy. "Violations of protocol!" Yadda yadda. Some were so red-faced, you'd think Michelle kissed Liz's head with a bottle and stole her purse. Eventually, Bob Costas, John Madden, and a telestrator were brought in to analyze the tape. Apparently, the Queen put her arm around the First Lady first, prompting our Lady to put her hand on their Lady's shoulder in what experts are now calling a "reciprocation of affection."
Having finally overcome that controversial obstacle, the White House has stumbled into another with the President's bowing before Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. Screed Queen, Michelle Malkin says the whole thing is "embarrassing" and (ironically, in light of the last administration) complains, "It's like the 'American Hillbillies go to Europe.' He is throwing American power and prestige out with both hands as fast as he can." Defender of the Faith, Gary Bauer, of course, sees a Muslim conspiracy in that nefarious bow. As though the Saudis will now dictate US foreign policy in the region. As though they haven't been doing just that the past eight years.
As Costas, Madden, and the telestrator are once again employed to examine whether or not this was indeed a bow and etiquette experts like Gloria Starr calculate the exact ratio of degree-of-bow to loss-of-American-power, I'll be the first to admit that I actually don't give a shit about any of it. I'll also admit that I didn't care when W. actually held Crown Prince Abdullah's hand during their romantic stroll in Crawford back in '05. Now, don't get me wrong, I made jokes. How couldn't I? Just look at them. But I actually didn't care.
I think whether the President bows, holds hands, kisses, cuddles, or spoons another leader matters about as much as the Pirates' World Series plans. However, for the past 60+ years our country has bent over backwards to please the House of Saud to the point of utterly fucking ourselves, and that's what we seriously have to look into.
FDR started the contortions in 1943, making Saudi Arabia (a neutral country) eligible for Lend-Lease assistance. Saudi security was considered vital to US interests, and that's been our position ever since. The House of Saud could do whatever it wanted (oppress their women, torture its dissidents, spread virulent anti-American Islam worldwide, whatever); as long as they pumped the cheap crude, we'd cover their asses.
It wasn't a pretty relationship, but no junky/dealer relationship ever is. But, during the Cold War, this despicable deal made some sort of realpolitik sense. But the canoodling really needed to stop after September 11.
It's not just that 11 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi or even that Osama himself is Saudi. It's that, for decades, while we Americans have made that country rich by consuming their oil, while we've bolstered and equipped their military with aid they never needed in the first place, while we looked the other way when it came to their abysmal human rights record, and while we went to war to save their oil and asses, the Saudis have been funding the very terrorists who aimed to kill us while spending billions to indoctrinate Muslim children around the world to replace the terrorists who died that day.
It would seem that anybody who did all that to contribute to and actively encourage your own destruction would be classified an enemy. But Bush twisted the Saudis into dance partners.
But not only did the main funders and mentors of al Qaeda become our "biggest allies" in W.'s ack-basswards "War on Terror," but Pakistan (the country that formed and funded the Taliban) became our second biggest allies. How our worst enemies somehow morphed into our greatest allies is still beyond me. It's as though, after Pearl Harbor, FDR joined us to the Axis and we went on to invade Spain and Argentina.
Has such a powerful country ever been so utterly fucked over by a smaller nation only to bend over and ask for more? Back in the day, we nuked Japan. Rome plowed Carthage under with salt. But now our allies whisper sweet-nothings in our politicians' ears while their underlings blow the living shit out of our soldiers.
Now, Lord knows, I don't want us to nuke Saudi Arabia, and the salt thing seems a little too ... well, Biblical. I don't even want us to invade the peninsula. I just want to know why W. never called these "allies" of ours to task. Why did W. insist on calling them "friends"?
While these cons are screaming about Obama's bow, why have they never answered why Boy George was always so eager to bend over for the Saudis? Our thankfully former president not only never caught bin Laden, but he never made the Saudis pay in any way for their involvement with 9/11 or the global network of Islamic terror. There were no breaking of ties, no economic sanctions. We never curbed our "addiction to oil" or even tried to switch dealers.
I'm thinking Malkin, Bauer, and their brood would better utilize their time if they stopped speculating if Obama gave Abdullah a 25-, 40-, or 90-degree bow and actually get to the bottom of the mystery that was W.'s diplomatic policy towards the Saudis. Perhaps, they can even start speculating on whether or not our relationship with that country is even worth continuing.
Now, look, I understand what it's like to hate, hate, HATE! one of our presidents. I spent the last eight years filled with rage everytime I saw that Connecticut Texan on the boob tube. I hated his goofy smile, his chuckle. I even hated the way he walked--like something powerfully uncomfortable was lodged up his rectum--you know, Cheney's forearm. But, more importantly, I hated Bush's supposed "War on Terror," his lying to get us into Iraq, I hated his constant calling for tax cuts despite growing deficits, and I hated his utterly contempt for governance itself, which I believe led to levees breaking, bridges collapsing, poisoned children's toys, and collapsed banks.
So, in the grand scheme of things, how important is Obama's Bow, really? What really matters here is the Bush Bend-Over our country's been experiencing for over seven years now and whether or not Obama's simply going to "assume the position" or actually go in a different, "bold" direction and somehow extricate us from these "Wars" of ours and possibly from the region altogether.