The Saudi Arms Deal and Our Addiction to American Sacrifice
Aug 7, 2007
Irvine, CA--The Bush administration is asking Congress to approve a $20 billion arms sales package to Saudi Arabia, with the justification that a better-armed Saudi Arabia may serve as a "counterbalance" to the threat posed to us by Iran.
"This is absurd," said Alex Epstein, a junior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute. "The administration has been telling us that we must forgo oil for more costly fuels because our 'addiction to oil' helps finance hostile Middle East regimes--among them Saudi Arabia, which has spent almost $100 billion spreading the terrorists' ideology of Islamic Totalitarianism. And yet at the same time that our leaders demand that we sacrifice oil-consumption for the sake of protection from the Saudis, they are arming the Saudis to the teeth.
"What explains this blatant contradiction? While one might attribute it to simple hypocrisy, the Bush Administration is in fact being consistent. In response to both the Saudi threat and the Iranian threat, our response is not self-assertion, but self-sacrifice. When Saudi Arabia spreads a terrorist ideology around the world, we do not punish that regime, we punish ourselves by rejecting the lifeblood of our civilization. And when Iran unleashes even more terrorist aggression, we do not destroy that regime, we imperil ourselves by arming our Saudi enemies and hoping it will somehow protect us. Indeed, the same pattern has been at work in the Iraq fiasco; to the extent the Hussein regime was a threat to us, we did not simply use our military to end it, but instead set out to sacrifice American money and lives to bring the good life to the hostile tribal Iraqis.
"The pattern here follows a definite principle; America has no right to use its unmatched military might for its own sake—it is duty-bound to sacrifice its soldiers, money, and self-defense.
"America, the most moral and most powerful nation on earth, has both the right and the ability to end state sponsorship of terrorism. But we will not be able to do so until we abandon our addiction, not to oil, but to the morality of self-sacrifice."
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Alex Epstein was a writer and a fellow on staff
at ARI between 2004 and 2011.