Think of this as Volume 18, Number 38 of the newsletter I have written weekly since March, 1997. Enjoy.
But I’m “just” a blogger. And here are two truths for our time. First, the war with ISIS is actually a war between Saudi Arabia and…Saudi Arabia. Second, the rise of Alibaba may be the greatest existential threat China’s Communist Party has yet seen.
First things first.
The Saudi kings gained power by imposing an absolutist ideology, Wahhabism, on the Gulf Arabs. They were, in their time, no different than ISIS. No one cared then because no one knew just how much oil was under their feet.
Today the world depends on Arabian oil. Oil is the global currency. But for decades many Arabs, spurred by their Wahhabist beliefs (think of it as an Arab Tea Party), have been giving financial backing to young men who would practice a purified form of the ideology on the Sunni people and, by extension, on the whole world. Reagan encouraged this practice. One result was Al Qaeda. But that practice of fomenting war against the West did not end with 9-11. That event, and the Iraq War which followed, probably encouraged many wealthy Arabs in their hatred and distrust of the West.
They doubled down. They funded ISIS.