Vice President Cheney Visits Saudiland and is Taken Over A Barrel

05/25/2011 12:00 pm ET
  • Raymond J. Learsy Author, 'Ruminations on the Distortion of Oil Prices and Crony Capitalism'

The Saudi's have no shame and our Vice President is so wedded to the oil industry and its gilded welfare that he let's them get away with it, nay, may even encourage it.

The Vice President flew to Saudi Arabia for a meeting with King Abdullah. The visit was heralded with the appropriate fanfare from the Vice Presidential office as a meeting with "...a strong ally". No mention that this ally is channeling some $4 billion a year to madrassas, and Wahabbi influenced mosques and cultural centers around the world with their volition to preach hatred of America and the West. A mindset that is all too often tolerated and encouraged while jihad is lionized. No mention of what the administration would want us not to remember, that the majority of the 9/11 murderers were Saudi citizens. Nor, for that matter that in the early stages of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, Saudis were largest contingent of foreign "martyrs" and continue to be a factor (see post "The Head of The Snake: Iraq's Unspoken Risk" 1/08/06).

With the Middle East in the throes of a historic tectonic shift whereby, according to the New York Times, "power seems to shifting away from the Western allied Sunni Muslim countries of Egypt and Saudi Arabia to the Shiite state of Iran". With the emerging ascendancy of a Shiite majority in Iraq, more than ever has the United States become the de facto protector of last resort to the Saudi regime.

While American soldiers are dying in Iraq, with American taxpayers footing the billions upon billions of this sad enterprise, the Saudis have benefited enormously with the tripling of oil prices since the beginning of hostilities and the relative safety from a Hussein-free Iraq.

And yet, and yet on the very day that Vice President Cheney was meeting
with King Abdullah Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi felt himself sufficiently emboldened, in spite of the the Vice President's presence, to proclaim that OPEC might cut oil output again when it meets later this month if the group's 1.2 million barrel per day cutback agreed in Qatar last month failed to balance the market (read prices slipping under $60 barrel).

That the Saudi's would have the willingness to flag their monopolistic proclivities in Cheney's presence evidences two things:

- First, that the Saudis have shown total willingness to rig the price of oil to the highest limits possible even at risk to their own longer term interests alienating the customers and markets that are the source of their long term security.

- Second, the realization that the administration is in the total thrall of the oil industry, that monopolistic behavior by the Saudis to ratchet up the price oil is not even a topic of discourse between ranking members of our government and Saudi Arabia's. That Saudi Arabia's willingness to risk crippling our economy at this moment in time is not an issue worthy of a heated discussion between the Vice President of the United States, the world's largest oil consumer, and Saudi Arabia's King, borders on the incredulous. It clearly shows an abject submission of our government to the interests of the oil industry well ahead of those of the nation as a whole.

Clearly it is the nation that pays the Vice President's salary and not the oil industry. This issue is a vital part of his mandate. And if he feels the pay is inadequate to the job that needs be done, he can always resign.