11 Mar 2011

The blindness of Absolutism and the fall of the house of Saud

There is an old story about a vain and foolish monarch who wears no cloths before his people. He parades in a procession naked because he has been told his new suit is invisible to those unfit for their position and/or, those who are hopelessly stupid. 
The Emperor cannot see the cloth himself, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing unfit or stupid; his ministers do the same. 
A child in the crowd calls out that the Emperor is wearing no clothes and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor cringes, suspecting the call is true, but holds himself up proudly and continues the procession because to accept the truth he is a mere mortal like the rest of us would reveal his vanity and corrupted outlook on reality. 
The rise, rise and rise of people power is making the old political world cringe. And more so in the world of Arab autocracy, theocracy, dynasty and dictatorship.

Recent articles in western press makes grim reading for the House of Saud. They suggest the recent surge in oil prices is a planned shot across the bow of new Arab democracy movements and popular western support for it. The House of Saud is saying encroach on our easy street and we have the power to send you harsh recession and pain.
This strategy is of the same tale as the above story. The house of Saud does not hear the child cry out the truth. There is no longer any legitimacy in Absolutism.
Oil addiction is challenged by winds of change seeking to turn a new dirrection. Times is running out for the house of Saud as people grasp a rare moment of clarity over energy conflict.
Creating an oil price bubble by either cutting back on production or encouraging financial investment banks to buy oil at any price, hoard it in vast depots such as Rotterdam harbour and then bet on the price rising further will create a firestorm of public anger and resentment at the idea public standard of living is controlled by a few bankers and monarchs desperately clinging on to systems people have lost faith in. 
In such a scenario, it would be in the West’s interest to fuel regime change to support partners we can assist develop democracy, new energy, global co-operation and in whom we can be proud of. 
When push comes to shove, as it nearly always does in revolutions, the alliance of Absolutists and investor banker vampirism will face populations with more in common that they might realise. Betting on their own victory might prove a bit dicey; for small sparks can turn into flames.
It seems, for those watching from the sidelines, the enemy of the state is the friend of the people.