May 12, 2005

NOT HARD TO BE BETTER:

Like Gorbachev, only better (Fahad Nazer, MAY 12, 2005, International Herald Tribune)

Mikhail Gorbachev will go down in history as a man who simultaneously saved and destroyed his nation. He is rightly praised for having the courage to promote "new thinking" and a more open approach to confronting long-ignored challenges, yet his reforms clearly precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union. Nonetheless, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia would do well to look at Gorbachev as a model of what a leader can do when his country is at a crossroads in history.

Much like the Soviet Union a quarter-century ago, Saudi Arabia is facing growing unemployment and increasing poverty. A large proportion of the populace - in the Saudi case, most women - remains marginalized and is becoming increasingly critical of its predicament. Islamic radicalism, long kept under wraps by the strong central government, is still on the rise. And the younger generation is still in the early stages of developing the political awareness and maturity necessary to be fully engaged in politics and even showing some apathy about the nation's future.

In the Saudi case, as in the Soviet one, the government bears much of the responsibility for the troublesome state of affairs. It continues to adhere to an outdated, primarily imposed social contract with the Saudi people, known as the Baya, which was shaped by the nation's founder, King Abdul Aziz. In a nutshell, the contract holds that the government should guarantee the security and well being of the citizens, and in return the people are to leave all political decisions to the royal family.

What part of the State's failure isn't Statism (Communist, Nazi, or Wahhabist) responsible for?

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 12, 2005 7:29 AM
Comments

Like Gorbachev, only better

Thank you for Today's Mandatory Gorbasm, Mr. Strobe Alter Cohen.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 12, 2005 8:51 AM

Prince Abdullah will do well to look at comrade Gorbachev as a model for what a leader MUST do when his country is at a crossroads in history..say "reality bites" and adapt (or be swept way w/the trash).

Nice line about the bayah being "primarily imposed." I guess it sounds better than saying that it was "imposed at gun and sword point."

Posted by: Dave W. at May 12, 2005 10:28 AM

"In a nutshell, the [Democratic Party] contract holds that the government should guarantee the security and well being of the citizens, and in return the people are to leave all political decisions to the royal family." All paths converge on The Road to Serfdom.

Posted by: Luciferous at May 12, 2005 10:47 AM

The author should have closed the circle and just said that the Wahabbis are the equivalent of Lenin, Trotsky, Suslov, and Andropov - the lunatics who must be removed prior to any "reform".

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 12, 2005 11:45 AM

Andropov died before Gorby took over.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at May 12, 2005 10:51 PM

Idiotic line about saving and destroying the nation. The Communist regime had not been the Russian nation, but, OTC, the arch-enemy of the Russian nation. Nations are saved by shooting Communists in the side of the head.

Posted by: Lou Gots at May 13, 2005 12:02 PM
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