Friday, February 15, 2013

Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude

[July 2009] With a title like this, how can you expect anything unbiased? Alas, this is also its downfall.

One theme throughout this book is that the government has been blind to the many issues in the middle east that are readily evident to the author. While there may be a lot of truth to the arguments, the tone and one-sidedness make it difficult to trust.

The key argument he presents is that there are a number of mutual addictions that promulgate a dangerous situation in the middle east. The US is addicted to oil. Saudi royals are addicted to their money and playboy culture. Saudi citizens are addicted to the extreme welfare state (and thus have more time to be susceptible to extremists. In a brief aside he mentions that the Saudi Royals may have learned how to act by the American petrobusinesses that 'taught' them. And based on the accounts in this book, Saudi Arabia does seem to be run very similarly to a big business (with little in common with a country.)

The insights and accounts are quite appealing. The book itself, would benefit from a more balanced tone.

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