Sunday, May 21, 2017
Yesterday morning, when the TV was turned on at about 6:15 a.m., I found, to my delight, coverage on Fox News of the president arriving in Riyadh to be greeted by the king, Salman of Saudi Arabia. All the pomp and circumstance that greeted the American president was fun to watch, and a fitting tribute by their country to ours.
It was painful to remember Barack Hussein Obama doing the bowing and scraping in the presence of his betters when he visited the same place. The passage of time sometimes improves relationships and shows the fecklessness of past leaders.
It was interesting to see how adults in leadership positions greet their peers.This is something we do not see very often in our own country. It is assumed, incorrectly, in our country that all who are in public life are adults.
We are far more used to seeing the antics of children who have inserted themselves into leadership positions than we are the reasoned approach of adults.
This is one of the drawbacks of democracy. Party affiliation is not a filter for adulthood, either. Both parties have their share of immaturity to reckon with.
An interesting fact: Ibn Saud ruled from 1932-1953. All the other kings of Saudi Arabia have been his sons, all six of them. The current king, Salman, is 81. The heir apparent is Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, grandson of Ibn Saud. There is a Wikipedia article to help sort this out if you are interested.
Have fun, I got utterly confused.
There are two main sects of Islam, Sunnis and Shiites. The moderately good guys are all Sunnis: the Saudi Arabs, the vast majority of them, are Sunnis. Only about 10% of Muslims are Shiite. Our mortal enemies, the Iranians are mostly Shiite.
The differences between Sunnis and Shiites are rather obscure, and go back to the sixth century or thereabouts. Reading about the reasons for their dispute seemed irrelevant to me.
But the two sects hate each other more than they do even Christians or Jews – the difference means absolutely nothing to those of us who are not Muslims. It is sort of similar to the cross bearing the Christ of Roman Catholicism versus the empty cross of Protestant religions. The major militants come from the Shia persuasion, generally, although the 9/11 attackers were Saudis, and therefore, presumably, Sunnis.
Early Americans went to war against Islam, at the time embodied by the Barbary Pirates, and the United States Marine Corps was founded. So, we have one thing to thank Islam for. It also gave us a line in the Marine hymn "… To the shores of Tripoli…"
We have been at war with Islam on and off since then. Our founding fathers knew a few things that we have forgotten.
As things stand, we have a good chance to make a well-founded alliance with a long-term enemy. If I heard things right this morning, the Saudis are making noises about entering the 20th – not to take things too far and jump into the 21st – century.
We have just the man who can help, whose daughter is raising a family in the Jewish tradition. No other president has ever brought that sort of opportunity to the bargaining table. Previous Saudis would never have considered the mention of the Jewish state, but it is in their interest to do so. Ivanka, Donald Trump's daughter, was prominently seated next to a Saudi official at this morning's welcoming ceremony. This was a first: a female and a Jew being treated in this manner.The fact of either status would have prevented such treatment in all previous dealings that the Saudi's have had with us.
It will be interesting.
Donald Trump was accused of making the same Obama-like gesture of obeisance to the Saudi king when he bent his head to the shorter man to receive the necklace which was being presented to him.
Democrat affiliated journalists will grasp for any straw when they are unable to tilt the table to their advantage.
Phil Gramm (former Texas Senator and author of the Gramm/Rudman Act – a successful budget control law) has an article here. He describes the way for our country to dig itself out of the hole that we have been put in by Obama economics.