Thursday, October 21, 2010

Need Some Cash? Saudia Arabia Now Buying Weapons

The United States just announced its biggest arms deal EVER: a $60 billion sale to Saudi Arabia. The biggest US arms sale ever - that's saying a lot. We export weapons to countries all over the globe; it's nothing new. Fighter jets here, helicopters there. What really blows me away about this deal is the US government's inability to understand that history tends to repeat itself.

The US Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs, Andrew Shapiro, said that this deal with Saudi Arabia is intended in large part to counter the threat that Iran poses to the Saudis. 

OK. It's 2010. Saudi Arabia is a US ally. Iran is an enemy. But let's go back for a moment to the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Iran, under the autocratic rule of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was a major US ally. We encouraged Iran to develop a nuclear (energy) program and turned a blind eye to the repressive tactics of the Shah.

How quickly a friend can turn to an enemy. In 1979, a revolution in Iran overthrew the Shah and so began our odious relationship. The US befriended Saddam Hussein's Iraq and backed Iraq in its war against Iran during the 1980s. Then came the 1990s up to today - we all know how that relationship turned out for us.

Last month State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said major arms deals to countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel were in the US "national interest" as Washington seeks to keep the region stable and counter potential threats from Iran.

This short-term view of who's a friend and who's an enemy is to our great detriment. Instead of selling billions of dollars of weapons to our "friends," who often end up our enemy a decade later, we should be seeking to create peace in the Middle East. $60 billion of fighter jets and guns aren't going to deliver that.

1 comment:

  1. "US government's (in)ability to understand that history tends to repeat itself" = "national intere$t"


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