Monday, April 18, 2016

The Saudis don't win a U.S. alliance by default

The weird thing this post from Kevin Drum is that he seems to think that Saudi Arabia or Iran are the only options if the U.S. is in the market for an ally in the Muslim world.

First, the "Muslim world" is quite big. There are more Muslims in South Asia and Southeast Asia than in the Middle East. But, second, even if we pretend that the "Muslim world" only means non-Israeli countries in the Middle East (which is what Drum seems to be doing), there are still a lot of countries that could be U.S. allies that are not KSA or Iran. Take Turkey, for example, which already is an ally of the United States, as it is a member of NATO. There are plenty of problems with the current government of Turkey. But, for all its current authoritarianism, those problems don't come close to the problems that I associate with a theocratic absolute monarchy which criminalizes the ordinary behavior of women and religious minorities. As terrible as the government of Turkey is right now, it is way way better than the Saudi government by every measure I can think of, There's Egypt (another currently terrible government that is still way better than the Saudi monarchy), and Jordan. Seriously, the entire region is filled with countries other than the Saudis and Iranians that the U.S. could, and in fact does, work with.