Friday, July 16, 2004

Playing hardball for a change

House Votes to Block Aid for Saudi Arabia. "The vote was a stinging defeat for the Bush Administration which had strongly opposed the measure saying it would "severely undermine" counterterrorism cooperation with Saudi Arabia and U.S. efforts for peace in the Middle East." Oh, boo hoo. This provides an opportunity to play good cop, bad cop. Ever since the Shah fell, dictators from Pakistan to Egypt to Saudi Arabia have been implicitly holding the threat of Islamic fundamentalists and the "angry Arab street" over our heads, dissuading us from pushing too hard for reform. Why shouldn't Bush tell Prince Abdullah that he'd "love to help, but you're country's just so unpopular among Americans; can't you show me some meaningful reform that I can use to convince Congress that we're on the same team?"

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