Our Saudi Friends and Allies

Why are Americans getting so ticked about a Saudi or two acting up in Pensacola.  They are our good allies and buddies, right?  Saudi businessmen were pals of the Bushes, and who really cares if members of the royal family and other Saudi billionaires  are funding Jihadi schools in America?  After all, they've been paying good money to both parties in Congress.  Besides, there's money to be made.  It's oil, man, oil.  Either get with the plan and pick up the crumbs under the Bushes (and the rest of the GOP's table) or go off and sulk and kiss your wife, play catch with the kids,  and read an improving book.

Oh, yes, I am forgetting, you can always turn on FOX News and get the thrill of empowerment.  The reinvented Tucker might even tell you have a right to be mad.  Whatever you do, don't ever get wise, because then you might have to confront the ugly reality of who owns America.

Avatar photo

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

11 Responses

  1. Dot says:

    Why are Americans so ticked at that Saudi acting up in Pensacola? Because that Saudi has hubris and knows it. Oil talks and they provide the most at least cost. Other countries provide oil to the US but not as much as Saudi Arabia. We need to change our transportation habits.

  2. Josh Doggrell says:

    With “allies” like these…

  3. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Happy you get the point, Josh, and I invite people to read your fine column/review on women in combat.

  4. Laura Brickman says:

    Hi Tom: We should be mad that all the terrorists were from
    Saudi Arabia on the Sept. 11 planes, except one from Egypt!
    Then we attacked Iraq in retaliation? Oil and money are our God it seems.
    But, the USA is producing oil, and exporting oil… Who is running
    our country, and government ?

  5. Laura Brickman says:

    Regarding the terrorist attack in Pensacola, the USA will continue to
    have attacks by terrorists and any other deranged person as long
    as we have minimal gun control. This situation is out of hand to
    the point that our constitution needs to be changed. We are no longer farmers protecting their property in the wilderness or fighting Indians! But again, money and the gun lobbyists prevent
    that sane thing from happening. I just read that we have 900 students in military training at Pensacola from SAUDI ARABIA!
    They are soppose to be learning about democracy; they have come
    to the wrong country, unfortunately, Again. 900 Saudis , “when will
    we ever learn, when will we ever learn?

  6. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Laura, thanks for your comment, which is half right: Training Arabs to kill us is hardly the action of a sane government.

    However, the standard arguments for gun control are made all the time by people unfortunate to live in the Northeast or California. Out here in flyover country, virtually everyone I know has a gun or guns, whether for hunting or as a routine measure of home defense. It is not a craze or obsession, just something that normal people do. When we lived in South Carolina, the proportion of gun-owners was much much higher. I don’t know anyone who has ever used a gun to threaten, much less kill, an innocent human being. In Switzerland, where the men are required to bear arms and be trained in their use, the homicide rate is virtually non-existent–the last I looked it was about 1/30 of the rate here in Rockford. In Israel, virtually an armed camp of 9 million people, the homicide rate is about 2 per 100,000–this in a country where a significant part of the population wants to exterminate the other part. If you want to visit places with serious homicide rates, go to Mexico and South Africa.

    There is hardly any data to support the position that if government rounds up guns, rates of violence go down. In what can be viewed as a laboratory experiment decades ago, the government of Jamaica went house to house seizing guns. On an island, it is much easier to stop the flow of weapons into the country, but, within a few years, they made exploratory raids and found there were about as many guns as there had been before.

    As for the Constitutional guarantee, it has nothing to do with Indians or wilderness. We know quite well what lay behind the 2nd Amendment, apart from the ornery tenacity of Americans, and it was Lexington and Concord. Americans in Massachusetts were stockpiling arms as prelude to their uprising against what they regarded as an oppressive government, though the King and Parliament were not one tenth as oppressive as our own government. That is the right they wished to protect, the right to resist government. This is also behind Jefferson’s famous statement that the tree of liberty had to be refreshed from time to time by the blood of patriots and tyrants, and it was very much on the mind of Mercy Otis Warren, a staunch advocate of what became the 2nd Amendment. Her husband, James Otis, was viewed as the godfather of the American Revolution because of his famous opposition to the Stamp Act and his declaration that “taxation without representation is tyranny.” Her husband, Dr. John Warren, was a leading member of the Boston Patriot Committee and died fighting at Bunker Hill.

    Now, I do not mean to suggest that I in any way approve of the American Revolution that cut us off from our civilization and culture and made us prey of demagogues. It is recorded that when Josiah Quincy, Yankee rabble rouser, went to Charleston, and was espousing revolutionary sentiments at an evening party, an angry well-traveled man warned the Carolinians that if they joined New England’s treasonable rebellion, they would find themselves under the Yankee boot heel. It took less than a century. But, setting aside my own views of the two American revolutions, the fact remains that Americans of the old-fashioned type continue to cling, as a president who hated us observed, to our guns and our religion. That is the main reason why the anti-gun lobby wants to overturn the second amendment.

    Supposing that any level of government had the will and the power to cut the rate of violent crime, how would they proceed. First of all, they would take cognizance of the simple fact that native-born Americans of European background commit murder at about the same rate as Norwegians and Scots, that over 50% of the violent crimes are committed by an ethnic group that constitutes about 14% of the population, and they are followed by Latin Americans. They would also note the really remarkable number of terrorist crimes committed by Muslims. They would forget about taking guns away from middle class suburbanites and concentrate on the people who are actually using guns, knives, bombs for murder.

    When terrorists went on a killing spree in New Jersey, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian Muslim, was quick to attribute the crimes to “white supremacists,” when in fact they were committed by “anti-Semitic” blacks. I use quotation marks because serious anti-Semites have nothing against Arab-speakers but only hate Jews. That someone with Tlaib’s profile and views could be elected to Congress and not expelled by her own party says a great deal about the mess we are in.

    Once upon a time, as my friend Srdja Trifkovic has pointed out repeatedly, We had the McCarran Act that demanded special scrutiny of immigrants coming from Communist countries. Why we cannot have a similar act protecting us from Ms Tlaib’s co-religionists, I do not understand.

  7. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Yes, that was my point. My friends all tell me that I should be less subtle with my irony. It is the people who hat the United States and all things Western that cannot understand why Americans do not rise up to embrace the people who want to eliminate them.

  8. Laura Brickman says:

    Good morning Tom, I read your reply regarding gun control and
    received a lesson in history regarding the

  9. Kellen Buckles says:

    Dr Fleming, of course, was not trying to exhaust the reasons people own guns, but for Ms Brickman and others I will add to the two he mentioned (hunting and home-defense). Others include self-defense in general; ie: out in public. Some people have guns as part of a tradition enjoying the beautiful lines of early revolvers, rifles, and shotguns. Most gun owners in rural areas or living close to ranges enjoy target shooting as a sport for the whole family. And that skill also serves the purpose of that ill-understood introductory clause of the 2nd Amendment — the “militia” mentioned is not the National Guard; rather it is the whole body of able-bodied men.

  10. Laura Brickman says:

    Continued, had to leave for afew minutes– regarding the 2nd
    Amendment… I agree that even if we” tried” to get rid of ALL the
    guns we’d still have gun violence… Unfortunately the poblem is
    the people. I have been to Israel, even lived there awhile and as
    you put it so well , some of the Israeli’s and Palestinians would
    like to kill one another, yet they don’t have OUR problem. However,
    the Saudi in Pensacola got a hunting permit and as a result he a
    NON CITIZEN could get a gun. Our gun permit laws are TOO LIBERAL! You are good at words, maybe you can write a gun permit law that covers the many loopholes that now exist…Always
    interesting and informative to read your essays and comments.

  11. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    You are certainly right, Laura, to distinguish the civil rights of actual citizens from the imaginary human rights we hand out to aliens. The state of Florida is entirely remiss in giving gun rights to visiting aliens–one might give restricted rights to resident aliens who have applied for citizenship. I’d also take away all gun rights from anyone convicted of a violent crime–not that laws would prevent criminals from doing what they want to do. Of course, the real place to begin is with controling our borders to keep out groups with a violent or anti-American profile.

    A good friend of mine, the sociologist John Shelton Reed, once wrote a great essay “Below the Smith and Wesson Line,” distinguishing gun violence in the South from northern and urban gun violence. Southerners, black and white, tend to kill people they know over fairly serious issues–cheating spouses, cheating at cards–while a lot of northern urban violence is directed against strangers, as in drive-by shootings, the murder of the poor Barnard freshman girl, or the Black Israelites’ killing of Jews.

    A lot of it, as you point out, has to do with the character of a particular nationality or ethnic group. When I was planning a program in Ireland, people expressed reluctance to go to a country with so much violence. First off, I explained, we were going to the Irish Republic, not to Ulster. Second, murder rates in Belfast itself, even during the last outbreak of what they mistakenly call “sectarian violence,” was much lower than in American cities. When the homicidal maniacs of the Clinton administration were bombing civilian centers in Yugoslavia far from Kosovo (Novi Sad, whose bridges we bombed during the morning rush hour to kill as many civilians as possible is 278 miles from Pristina in Kosovo), we said it was to stop the killing in Kosovo. One or two commentators, myself included, wondered why we didn’t bomb Washington, DC, which has much higher homicide rate.

    And thanks, Kellen. I used to get annoyed by friends and family who live in protected parts of states of the country like California (the unprotected parts of which are a war zone) for not understanding the affection of rural and small town Americans for their guns. I gave up being annoyed when it finally dawned on me that California, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts are no longer part of the old America, and they simply are out of touch with reality. I am reminded of someone (one of the Rockefeller clan) I once visited in the gated and machinegun-protected community in Lake Wales, Florida. As we got out of the car, he left his keys on the seat, saying, “I just don’t understand what people are talking about when they say they worry about the rising tide of criminal violence.” I know people in Southern Cal who hate Trump bitterly and talk blithely about all the economic benefits produced by illegal immigrants. When I ask about these immigrants’ rate of incarceration in Los Angeles and San Diego, their faces go blank, like the soldiers in The Manchurian Candidate, ‘Raymond Shaw Is the Kindest, Bravest, Warmest, Most Wonderful Human Being I’ve Ever Known in My Life’…..