Under this theory King Abdullah expected to talk about militarily confronting Iran, and he couldn’t believe it when Obama kept reciting bromides about the earth-shattering importance of the Israeli/Arab conflict and his enthusiasm for solving it. That was a regular public topic between the two Obama’s first talk with Abdullah focused on Gaza and the President later emphasized his abiding support for Saudi Arabia’s “Israel Has To Commit Suicide” plan but the King kind of thought he was dealing with a serious person who could separate spectacle from policy. Instead he got the equivalent of an International Relations graduate student enamored with pseudo-sophisticated “insights” he’d gleaned from Arab media outlets. Ergo, meltdown.
So two theories about happened at the Obama/Abdullah meeting. One theory says that the Saudis were literally screaming their heads off about Iran, the implication being that experts who describe overarching anti-Israel outrage are more manufacturing it than commenting on it. It’s not that Arab leaders don’t care about the Israeli/Arab conflict, or that they wouldn’t want to see a Palestinian state, or that they won’t pay lip service to linkage. It’s just that they really, really care about stopping Iran by any means necessary something that foreign policy experts who obsess over Israel’s ostensibly central regional role can’t have be true, lest their insistence that a Palestinian state is a necessary prerequisite to action on Iran seem more like personal fantasy than objective analysis.
People whose politics are reflexively anti-American often take the side of non-free, tinpot states. I’m always amazed how the same person can be suspicious of his own government (which is not an altogether bad instinct for a citizen of any country) while simultaneously trusting every word of some sultan, dear leader, or comandante in some backwater country with no free press or open emigration. They trust them not because they’re trustworthy, but because their hatred of America and desire to see it punished give them something in common.
Examples: Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Fidel Castro in Cuba, even Saddam Hussein in Iraq under Clinton. There were Iraq apologists protesting UN sanctions against Iraq who swallowed Hussein’s propaganda about his people suffering under sanctions. That led to the oil for food program farce, which became a cash cow for Hussein’s regime, as revealed by investigations of fraud and bribery of government officials and corporations around the world.
Hat tip to Ace.