THE NEW FRENCH
By Geoff Metcalf
August 19, 2002
"You might have shot us in the back, now you have to face the fact that the Big Boys in the game." --Charlie Daniels
The dysfunctional soap opera royal family of Saud had best get their priorities in order or face inevitable consequences they are loath to even acknowledge.
For almost a year the constant albeit inconsistent mantra of Bush administration has been "either you are with us in our war against terrorism or you are against us."
The pampered princes of Saud, too embroiled in their own court musings and positioning games, have assumed the tough talk from the U.S. was just that talk. After all oil trumped any and all American righteous indignation right? Wrong! At least kinda/sorta wrong.
American diplomats (traditionally a timid lot) are now talking diplomatic trash. Uncompromising words that those who do not support U. S. plans to deal with Iraq's resident madman will be treated as enemies really we mean it THIS time.
One official told the London Telegraph http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/08/18/
wiraq18.xml "Many counties have been hiding their heads in the sand," apparently in the vain hope that if they ignored the storm clouds maybe it won't rain. Well, "Now there are the beginnings of a realization that they must ensure they remain on the right side of the Americans."
Other Arab nations (Egypt and Jordan) have maintained the courage to defy public opinion and hang tough with their peace agreements with Israel. However, Saudi Arabia seems intent to establish policy based on the loudest squawking.
Personally and politically Saddam does not enjoy the unbridled (or bridled) support of ANY Arab neighbor. Iran is still smarting for the cruel realities of their eight year war with Iraq and there are those who eschew an "Arab" label for the more lofty, and pretentious "Persian" distinction.
I was surprised to learn of the bigotry and deep-seated antipathy certain "Persians" hold for "Arabs".
There are growing signs that some Arab and Persian types are fixated on being on the winning side with the hope they will have some stake in crafting the new Iraq after Saddam.
So what IS the plan AFTER we stick a fork in Hussein? Reportedly the key reasons we didn't get rid of Saddam in '91 was a combination of
* The evil we know is better than the evil we don't know.
* Hussein is defeated and neutered. What can he do?
* Fears of a divided Iraq (three separate entities) and the effect that would have had on Saudi Arabia.
Well, frankly, the effects of how a rearranged Iraq might effect our once upon a time friends the Saudis is less significant than Regis Philbins career plans.
The 1991 air war was staged out of the Prince Sultan air base in Saudi Arabia. When the "new French" denied us that resource we turned to Qatar and will soon finish a superior alternative at al-Udeid, which will have one of the longest runways in the Middle East. We don't need no stinking Prince Sultan air base.
It is almost understandable how and why the Saudis might choose to pander to the home front whining for Arab solidarity (despite centuries of parochial infighting and jihads ad nauseum). America hasn't exactly been consistent in either foreign policy or backing up previous tough talk. The perception of "hollow words" and the wink/wink-nod/nod permissiveness was enhanced and crystallized by the routine folding of the previous administration.
Perhaps the "new French" and their myopic cousins haven't yet either gotten or digested the significance of the 9/11 memo. The "Smug and Sanctimonious" http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;$sessionid$S3RHXX
&_requestid=83851&_requestid=167323 drivel of Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon notwithstanding, Americans remain very p.o.-ed. Those draconian editorials of last year will resurface, as the anniversary of 9/11 grows close.
Despite the bleeding heart Hollywood elite, grassroots America isn't buying the weak protestations of Robbins, Sarandon, Baldwin, Streisand at all. Americans are longing for the return of John Wayne and Audi Murphy.
God forbid Saddam Hussein unleashes any weapon of mass destruction loose before we neuter him.
Arab nations face a cruel reality check. The only U.S. allies in the region at this time are non-Arabs (Turkey and Israel). If the Arab world wants or expects any clout is negotiating a post-Saddam Mideast Plan they had best (sooner rather than later) overcome any angst about the inevitable U.S. humiliation of the wannabe Nebuchadnezzar and embrace what the London Telegraph calls a policy of "realpolitik".
Charlie Daniels "This Ain't No Rag It's A Flag" warns, "We're all through talking and messing around and now it's time to rock and roll." firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2002 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved
Geoff is a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Metcalf has hosted his radio talk show on the ABC/Disney owned and operated KSFO and in worldwide syndication. www.geoffmetcalf.com