It’s not an embarrassment if you think the US should be aligned with a repressive Islamic fundamentalist regime that is one of the leading state sponsors of terror. From Michael Brendan Dougherty at nationalreview.org:
It also has very real strategic and moral costs.
When he was 17, five years ago, Mujtaba al-Sweikat committed the “crime” of participating in a pro-democracy rally in Saudi Arabia. Instead of attending Western Michigan University, as he had planned to do that fall, he was put in prison. Reports are now leaking out of Saudi Arabia that al-Sweikat will soon be beheaded for his transgression. It’s just the latest reminder that Saudi Arabia is America’s worst best friend.
The U.S. does get something out of its relationship with Saudi Arabia; there is real intelligence sharing, and the Kingdom has used its power over OPEC to drive oil prices down when we want to humiliate Russia or accomplish some other goal. That’s not nothing. Nor will I pretend that a global superpower can do the business of horse-trading only with saints and scholars. But there are real costs to our relationship with the Saudis, and I’m not sure that our policy elites are reckoning with them at all.
A day will come when we need friends with whom we share a real civilizational affinity, and our relationship with the Saudis will hurt us on that day. Saudi-funded mosques and preachers flow into the nations of our friends and allies, preaching hatred and occasionally terror. We often talk about how nationalism is a response to the globalization of commerce. But it’s also a response to the globalization of Saudi Arabia’s favorite forms of Islam. Syrian refugees come to Germany and find Saudi-funded mosques that are far more extreme than anything they knew at home. Saudi-funded clerics are a major engine of extremism, and of the nationalist backlash it produces, from France to India.
Saudi actions in this regard are so embarrassing and brazen that Western nations won’t even let themselves be heard discussing them intelligibly. Last Week, U.K. home secretary Amber Rudd refused to publish her own government’s delayed report on the funding of extremist groups. Even in the press releases, the government was too ashamed to admit the fact that everyone knew to be in them: Saudi Arabia funnels money to the extremist groups that threaten Europe with terrorism.
To continue reading: Our Relationship with Saudi Arabia Is an Embarrassment