By Bill Maher
The Saudis are hurt. They’re angry at President Obama, who seemingly pissed them off intentionally. My immediate reaction: It’s about time. In an interview published in The Atlantic, President Obama described nations like Saudi Arabia as “free riders” on American foreign policy, funding religious intolerance, “repressing half its population,” and failing to make any effort to forge some sort of “cold peace” with Iran.
This got the Saudis’ attention, of course. “No, Mr. Obama, we are not ‘free riders,’” wrote Saudi prince and former ambassador Turki al-Faisal, citing the kingdom’s “80 years of constant friendship with America.” Angry yes, but you can sense the fear.
The Saudis have always done the bare minimum for us. And our friendship with them subverts everything we say we believe about democracy, women’s rights, freedom of the press, freedom of expression, humane treatment of prisoners, separation of church and state… hell, it would be hard to come up with a single “American value” that Saudi Arabia doesn’t violate. Our relationship damages us in the region arguably more than our friendship with Israel. At least that doesn’t make us look like such a bunch of hypocrites.
And now we don’t need their oil. “Free riders?” Obama let them off easy.