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Dr. Strangelove in a kaffiyeh

Reader comment on item: Might the Saudis Blow Up Their Oil Infrastructure?

Submitted by Kenneth S. Besig (Israel), May 12, 2005 at 02:11

While I cannot address the veracity of Mr. Posner's suggestion that the Saudi Arabian leadership has created what might be called a modified Doomsday Device in their oil production and refining industry, I can see a definite similarity between their alleged project and the basis of the 1960's nuclear parody, "Dr. Strangelove or how I learned to stop worrying and love the Bomb." In that story, the Soviets created what they call a Doomsday Weapon which will automatically detonate if the USSR is attacked and can destroy all life on this planet and leave it a ticking wreck for hundreds of thousands of years. The Soviets failed to inform anyone of their diabolical plan, and so on and so forth.

Regarding the alleged Saudi plan of self destruction to forestall any invasion, I find this all to be far too melodramatic, excessively conspiratorial, and even a little paranoid, even for the house of Saud. As most informed and reasonable people by now know, there is no need for any foreign power to invade Saudi Arabia and take the oil by force, indeed, the most effective way of obtaining Saudi oil is simply to buy the stuff on the open market, and if the price of the oil gets too high, the cheapest way to lower the price is to let the free economic market do its job, by making high oil prices more financially damaging than profitable.

The political talk of some band of wild eyed Islamic extremists taking over the Saudi government by force is to my mind also quite unlikely, and would be practically a miracle if it were to occur. In the Middle East the only revolutions like this which have succeeded are the ones fomented against democratic governments, and the last time there was a democratic, sort of, government in the region which was overthrown by radical fundamentalist Islamics was in Iran. All the rest of the Islamic Arab kleptocratic tyrannies in our region are safely in the hands of the most brutal dictators imaginable, all of whom have held power for decades, will continue to so until their death intervenes, and then will hand that power over to their sons.
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