Liberal Grace

Friday, June 23, 2006


A few years ago I was riding by the high walls of Sheik's compound when a fellow passenger say, "My folks were good friends with this family."

I was impressed. These days, we westerners hardly interact with the Arabs, let alone be friends with them. Especially the ruling family.

But his story was from several decades ago when the oil wealth was kicking in and when westerners were still a novelty in Arab countries.

This wing of the royal family is now second-tier but, according to my friend, they were in the seat of power when his folks knew them. They are still fabulously rich but they are no longer rulers. I asked him how this happened.

The story he told was essentially the plot of Syriana. In his story there was no Matt Damon or George Cloony nor where there any assassinations .. but the western meddling in oil politics was pretty much as portrayed in Syriana.

I can not say if this story was true but it does seem to confirm the basic premise of Syriana.

Bush will tell you that many Muslims hate America because of her freedom. Many Muslims will tell you they hate America because of her foreign policies.

One of those foreign policies is America's (and the west's) meddling in Middle East to keep oil cheap and free-flowing. In some countries they have installed un-Democratic leaders and in others they keep them propped-up.

I recommend Syriana as an easy and entertaining way to get a lesson in oil politics.

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