I recently joined Quora as a specialist in Russian language and area studies. Since I hold a Master’s in Russian language and literature, the reception has been quite good and I am able to help people understand the world better but also learn from other experts.
I learned some years ago that reading Russian-language periodicals provides a perspective that is, I’d humbly submit, difficult to get any other way. Most Americans who write about Russia – even educated ones who are kindly disposed to Russia and Russians – simply fall short of the mark and watching their efforts is like watching a child riding a bike with training wheels. Except that most can never take off the training wheels. Take Paul Craig Roberts, who was once one of my favourite commentators and authors. PCR’s writings appear frequently at the site Russia Insider and over the last few months and years, most of them focus on how Putin is supposedly too soft on the West. There are numerous commentators in the RI forum who agree with him. In fact many of their comments show such anger and frustration at Putin’s “pussy footing” that clearly these people would be happy if he triggered a genuine head-on clash with the Western powers, even if it meant a shooting war. But of course, if Putin played the tough dude to the hilt, much of his East-West trade would diminish and most likely, the US would have cut Russia off from the SWIFT payment system by now. Like Yeltsin, he would be presiding over an impoverished Russian Federation that could no longer trade or get credit from the West. Watching his diplomatic finesse is like listening to a virtuoso pianist. (But you need to understand what he is doing. A good course in Putinology, as described here and here would be very helpful).
Now Russian-language periodicals provide insider information not only on Russia itself but, just as importantly, on the countries that Russia deals with, notably in the Muslim world. It also helps to read certain English-language sites that are written by commentators not aligned with the West. Reading purely Western news and views is, quite frankly – and I am not exaggerating to say this – poison. As powerful antidotes, I recommend these English language sites: Middle East Eye, Sputnik, Unz Review, EADaily, Tehran Times, The Duran, SANA, AlMasdar, Mondoweiss, New Silk Strategies and of course others too numerous to mention.
I had answered a question as to whether there might be a shooting war with Russia, and in my response I explained that the bulk of US foreign policy is driven by the petrodollar agreement concluded between Richard Nixon and Saudi King Faisal in the early 70s. I provided the links to a now dog-eared New Silk Strategies analysis showing how this agreement was the backdrop of almost all US-waged wars since then (for those who missed this, the three parts of the series are linked here, here and here.) I also said that since Israel is in almost perfect agreement with the Saudis on Middle East affairs, they too were an important driver.
After I posted this, someone who probably did not like to admit that almost all US wars were waged to prop up the dollar, and wanted another expert to tell him it wasn’t so, asked “Can all US foreign policy in the Middle East be summarized as whatever helps the Saudis and Israelis?”
The use of the word “helps” suggested to me that this inquirer had not read my earlier response very closely or had not given it due thought, and I answered thusly.
Thank you for asking that.
The short answer is no, US foreign policy cannot be summarized as helping either the Saudis or Israel. Remember the old adage “be careful what you wish for.” If you gave your teen everything he or she asked for, would that be “helping”? You know the answer.
The Saudis do indeed wish for a world free of Shiites, Christians, Yazidis, Houthis and secular governments in the Muslim world that they imagine absolutely must be under their sole control, and the US is happy to “help” them achieve this end.
But their zeal to achieve this Kingdom of Allah on earth has led to countless deaths through war and terrorism. The Saudi people are chafing under the yoke of a gang of royal dictators who are constantly at each other’s throats and who, when abroad, violate the laws of Allah, with their women dressing like whores (in a Muslim’s eyes) and the men living like nouveaux riches, squandering the treasury of the kingdom on luxury yachts and cars and imbibing the drink forbidden to ordinary Muslims.
For this reason, the Saudi royals live in constant fear of a coup coming from the grassroots or arrest at a command from one of their more-devout brothers.
As the photos linked below show, the Saudis are at war with their own people: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-siege-town-own-citizens-government-kingdom-military-government-awamiyah-qatif-a7877676.html
There is, in short, no peace in the kingdom. Thus the US is not truly helping anyone, just giving people what they ask for, not what they need.
Before I finished drafting this response, I stumbled across the timely article linked below showing that the once-popular (in the West, thanks to US propaganda) crown prince of Saudi Arabia is in big trouble, if indeed he is still alive: https://www.tehrantimes.com/news...
As for the Israelis, they are in constant fear of being attacked by the Arabs within and the Arabs without, and the only remedy they can think of is to simply shoot more protesters. They think the residents of Gaza and the West Bank can only be controlled by subjecting them to treatment that the UN constantly condemns because it falls outside the rules of decency and justice. This is a tenuous existence at best and is supported by a decreasing number of their brethren in the US and Israel. Finally, the hard line Likudniks in the Knesset are being increasingly challenged by US Jews and Israelis who were taught the difference between right and wrong (after all, they gave us the Ten Commandments) and are not going to back down.
Some supporting documents for victims of Western “news” outlets:
Israeli soldiers admit killing unarmed protesters under orders
Former Israeli soldiers break the silence
Israeli general confirms: IDF ordered to shoot children
Here is the unintended consequence of inhumane treatment of Arabs in Gaza and West Bank and the racist nation-state law:
“Alan Hoffman, CEO of the Israeli-government backed settler-colonization organization the Jewish Agency, bemoaned the “extremely worrisome” finding that support for Israel among American Jewish college students has plunged 32 percent between 2010 and 2016.” [my emphasis]
Israel will hurt itself
US Jews, Israelis increasingly oppose Israeli injustice, brutality
Here’s why the US lets Saudi write its foreign policy
Finally, the US has not only not helped Israel or Saudi Arabia in any meaningful way, but ironically, they have not helped themselves.
Let’s take the Saudi foreign reserves, which, according to the Nixon-Faisal petrodollar agreement, were supposed to be in US dollars and were expected, due to their gigantic amounts, to buoy up the value of the dollar. But in 2017, for example, they fell to just $500 billion $500 billion. Now that is less than half of the amount of USD in Treasuries held by China or Japan, each of which holds over $1 trillion USD at any given time. In all, as of June 2018, foreign investors held $6.25 trillion of US sovereign debt. Much of the rest was held by various government pension funds. Now considering that the US debt is over $21 trillion, since Saudi holds only around a half-trillion, the incredible fact of the matter is that it holds less than 1/40th of the US debt. Therefore, the belief that Saudi is capable of propping up the dollar is an absurd myth. What is really happening is that the US has apparently been convincing Western investors that the US-Saudi relationship is something that it simply is not. So why does the US military go so far out of its way to please the Saudis? I believe it is because the people we call the Deep State, including Wall Street, the Fed, Congress, the CIA and the presidency, all of whom have power over the US national debt, want an excuse to bring down Christian culture, and the myth that the Saudis are needed to prop up the dollar is convenient because it means that the US must do pretty much anything these psychopaths demand. Investors still behave as if they believe this nonsense. If you think there is something wrong with my straightforward explanation, at least you must admit that US wars have all had that effect in the Muslim world. Why else?
As for Israel, I believe US policy makers listen to them mostly because of the large number of “Christian” Zionists among the populace.
But the name “Christian” Zionism suggests that Zionism is something that Jesus would support and that He wanted His followers to lend, in Jesus’ name, spiritual support to a secular state where, according to a Reuters poll, 60% self-describe as “irreligious.” These cult-like people base much of their Israel-centricity on the dry bones prophesy in Ezekiel 37. Yet Ezekiel writes, in verse 24, that the resurrected Israel will be “obedient to God’s decrees.” Clearly that is not the Israel of today.
True Christians know that Jesus, weeping over Jerusalem, said that He would never come again to them until they had said “blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:39). They know that this is a plea to His followers to minister to the Jews. How? By opening the Old Testament to Leviticus 19:17 You shall love your neighbour as yourself.
Are American Christians ministering to Israel as Christ would want them to?
No, instead of advising Israelis to love their neighbours, as their own scriptures teach, they are saying to Israel: When you ask for arms to kill your neighbours, we will supply you with guns, armour, planes, missiles and all the ammunition you need to slaughter them. It was US-supplied arms that in 2006, nearly destroyed Lebanon, the Middle Eastern nation with the highest Christian population. American Christians are saying to this Israel: We will never oppose anything you do. You are exempt from the very commandments that you passed on to the world. We Christians must obey them but you may ignore them. We will support you in your disobedience to the God of Abraham, in whom you no longer believe.
Jesus was weeping as He stood at the temple of Jerusalem, knowing that his execution was imminent.
As a Westerner of a nation that once followed Christ’s teachings, I too weep inwardly for Jerusalem. And for my fellow Christians who lead it astray, fervently believing they are doing the will of the Saviour.
When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8