When the US Fracks, Saudi Women Drive

 

Okay, maybe the correlation isn’t ironclad. But the fracking revolution and the drill-baby-drill spirit might have made some canny lads in the KSA look to the future, and figure out how to reconfigure the country for the 21st century. Depending on where you’ve heard about the exploits of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, you’ve heard a shallow, cliched narrative about palace intrigue and power consolidation. Huh, he’s jailing a bunch of tubby dudes in robes, taking their money: typical. Or you’ve heard about a guy who’s not just acceding to modernity, but pushing the issue faster than you’d expect if he was just making nice for the international press.

Read The Atlantic interview. Excerpt:

…when I asked him whether he believed the Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland, he said: “I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation. I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land.”

That’s more than you’ll get out of some European intellectuals.

Published in Foreign Policy
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  1. JosePluma Coolidge
    JosePluma
    @JosePluma

    Who cares?  Fracking hurts the environment, causes earthquakes, shoots fire out your toilet and causes porcine sterility.  And Saudi women can drive but US women only earn 78.34295301¢ for every dollar a man earns.  And the joos  Israelis are Nazis.

    • #1
  2. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    The Prince has been head spinning in the last year or two, modernizing and opening Saudi Arabia in ways I’d never have imagined possible.  While the reality that petrodollars might no longer be able to prop up the old system no doubt plays a role, I’m hopeful that he’s also responding to and supported by a sense among workaday Saudis that it’s time for their country to join the modern world.  If he’s too far out in front, I fear this will prove to be a feint and he’ll get cut off at the knees.  But if he’s leading a willing nation, rather than forcing it, that brutal, authoritarian, terrorism exporting backwater might just genuinely join the civilized world.  He’s fun to watch and hope inspiring anyway.

    • #2
  3. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    The Prince has been head spinning in the last year or two, modernizing and opening Saudi Arabia in ways I’d never have imagined possible. While the reality that petrodollars might no longer be able to prop up the old system no doubt plays a role, I’m hopeful that he’s also responding to and supported by a sense among workaday Saudis that it’s time for their country to join the modern world. If he’s too far out in front, I fear this will prove to be a feint and he’ll get cut off at the knees. But if he’s leading a willing nation, rather than forcing it, that brutal, authoritarian, terrorism exporting backwater might just genuinely join the civilized world. He’s fun to watch and hope inspiring anyway.

    Absolute Monarch Drags Antedeluvian Society Into 19th Century. Film at 11!

    • #3
  4. Pony Convertible Inactive
    Pony Convertible
    @PonyConvertible

    Since the Department of Energy’s purpose is make us energy independent, can we declare that their job is done and eliminate this bureaucracy. Seems like an easy section of the swamp to drain.

    • #4
  5. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Probably: He won’t last. 

    He is undermining the entire basis for the Saudi regime and the reforms are top down. His reforms are economic and not political. As a result, there will be no safety valve and the pressure will build and it will explode.

    • #5
  6. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    My guess is some Islamic fanatic close to the Prince will assassinate him because of the few social reforms he’s enacted.  “He let women drive, now he says we can’t stone them?”

    • #6
  7. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    The Prince has been head spinning in the last year or two, modernizing and opening Saudi Arabia in ways I’d never have imagined possible. While the reality that petrodollars might no longer be able to prop up the old system no doubt plays a role, I’m hopeful that he’s also responding to and supported by a sense among workaday Saudis that it’s time for their country to join the modern world. If he’s too far out in front, I fear this will prove to be a feint and he’ll get cut off at the knees. But if he’s leading a willing nation, rather than forcing it, that brutal, authoritarian, terrorism exporting backwater might just genuinely join the civilized world. He’s fun to watch and hope inspiring anyway.

    Absolute Monarch Drags Antedelivian Society Into 19th Century. Film at 11!

    Hey, from the 7th century to the 19th is quite a hike.

    • #7
  8. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    Cato Rand (View Comment):
    he’s too far out in front, I fear this will prove to be a feint and he’ll get cut off at the knees

    or perhaps the head.

    • #8
  9. Danny Alexander Member
    Danny Alexander
    @DannyAlexander

    Thanks indeed for posting/sharing — quite an extraordinary interview.

    I am an avid supporter of fracking and all avenues that the Trump Administration is taking to bolster (in some cases restore) the fossil-fuel vigor of the US; put another way, I feel that we can’t put the lunacy of Obama-era energy policy behind us fast enough.

    That said, however important it is, fracking is clearly only one part of the array of issues propelling the Crown Prince’s endeavors — just as clearly (as is obvious from the way the interview is titled and framed), the Iranian threat is the most prominent constituent in this array.

    In any event, I think that “MbS” pretty much schooled Jeffrey Goldberg throughout the interview (and I mean that in an entirely admiring way, something I was quite unprepared to think prior to reading the interview) — given that Goldberg did post-interview editing work on the material he came away with, it may well have been the case that MbS actually came close to chastising Goldberg, not merely riposting.

     

    • #9
  10. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    The prince sounds like a modern-day Peter the Great–trying to bring modernity to his country. 

    • #10
  11. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    If only some Saudi women were employed by U.S. fracking companies , Saudi men could complain about “those frackin’ women drivers”.

    • #11
  12. Yudansha Member
    Yudansha
    @Yudansha

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    The Prince has been head spinning in the last year or two, modernizing and opening Saudi Arabia in ways I’d never have imagined possible. While the reality that petrodollars might no longer be able to prop up the old system no doubt plays a role, I’m hopeful that he’s also responding to and supported by a sense among workaday Saudis that it’s time for their country to join the modern world. If he’s too far out in front, I fear this will prove to be a feint and he’ll get cut off at the knees. But if he’s leading a willing nation, rather than forcing it, that brutal, authoritarian, terrorism exporting backwater might just genuinely join the civilized world. He’s fun to watch and hope inspiring anyway.

    The Shah tried this in Iran.  Look where that got us.

    Color me unconvinced; Whoever replaces the deposed and executed  “Apostate Traitor, Mohammed Bin Salman” will nuke up in opposition to Iran, and then we’re all living on borrowed time.

    • #12
  13. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

     I have no argument with any of you pessimists other than to say that I HOPE you’re mistaken.

    • #13
  14. Yudansha Member
    Yudansha
    @Yudansha

    Yudansha (View Comment):

     

     

     

     

    Deleted double post

    • #14
  15. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Pony Convertible (View Comment):

    Since the Department of Energy’s purpose is make us energy independent, can we declare that their job is done and eliminate this bureaucracy. Seems like an easy section of the swamp to drain.

    That’s not the purpose of DoE. But I do agree with your sentiment. Creating a cabinet agency by bolting together various and sundry federal bureaucracies is a PR act for politicians and a jobs program for GS 11s.

    Yes, I’m looking at you Departments of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security!

    https://www.energy.gov/about-us

    • #15
  16. TJSnapp, Multi Pass holder Member
    TJSnapp, Multi Pass holder
    @Kaladin
    • #16
  17. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Stad (View Comment):

    My guess is some Islamic fanatic close to the Prince will assassinate him because of the few social reforms he’s enacted. “He let women drive, now he says we can’t stone them?”

    Stoning women while they’re driving is almost impossible anyway. 

    • #17
  18. Pony Convertible Inactive
    Pony Convertible
    @PonyConvertible

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Pony Convertible (View Comment):

    Since the Department of Energy’s purpose is make us energy independent, can we declare that their job is done and eliminate this bureaucracy. Seems like an easy section of the swamp to drain.

    That’s not the purpose of DoE. But I do agree with your sentiment. Creating a cabinet agency by bolting together various and sundry federal bureaucracies is a PR act for politicians and a jobs program for GS 11s.

    Yes, I’m looking at you Departments of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security!

    https://www.energy.gov/about-us

    That isn’t the purpose today, but that is why it was started. Like all gov’t agencies it has morphed into something never intended.

    • #18
  19. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph Stanko
    @JosephStanko

    TBA (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):

    My guess is some Islamic fanatic close to the Prince will assassinate him because of the few social reforms he’s enacted. “He let women drive, now he says we can’t stone them?”

    Stoning women while they’re driving is almost impossible anyway.

    Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think stoned women should drive.

     

    • #19
  20. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Pony Convertible (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Pony Convertible (View Comment):

    Since the Department of Energy’s purpose is make us energy independent, can we declare that their job is done and eliminate this bureaucracy. Seems like an easy section of the swamp to drain.

    That’s not the purpose of DoE. But I do agree with your sentiment. Creating a cabinet agency by bolting together various and sundry federal bureaucracies is a PR act for politicians and a jobs program for GS 11s.

    Yes, I’m looking at you Departments of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security!

    https://www.energy.gov/about-us

    That isn’t the purpose today, but that is why it was started. Like all gov’t agencies it has morphed into something never intended.

    The precursors to the DoE were the Energy Research and Development Agency (nuclear and atomic subjects) and the Federal Energy Administration (a bureaucracy charged with collecting and reporting energy production statistics/forecasts). Undeniably, the government has advertised energy independence as a desire. But actual public law and policy have been inconsistent and skewed toward liberal fantasies such as Synfuels and wind/solar. Talk about two diametrically opposed dreams. The other feature, always in tension with liberal fantasies, is the practical realization that Americans want, and vote for, low energy prices.

    • #20
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