Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah visited President Bush’s Texas Ranch yesterday. Here’s what President Bush did — and did not — do during the visit:
Strolled through wildflowers
Stood up for pro-democracy Saudi activists
Despite his lofty rhetoric, President Bush uttered not one word about the three Saudi dissidents whom Prince Abdullah has imprisoned for circulating a petition calling for democratic reform in Saudi Arabia. Human Rights Watch urged Bush to call for their release last week.
Called for democratic reform in countries that aren’t Saudi Arabia
The joint statement by President Bush and Prince Abdullah expressed “support for the efforts of the Palestinian Authority to bring democracy, peace, and prosperity to all Palestinians” and called for “free and fair elections unburdened by foreign interference or intimidation” in Lebanon.
Called for democratic reform in Saudi Arabia
The same statement didn’t mention “democracy” or “rights” at all in relation to Saudi Arabia. Indeed, it noted that the U.S. “does not seek to impose its own style of government on the government and people of Saudi Arabia,” even though Saudi Arabia’s “style of government” has lately included violating fundamental human rights which it has agreed to uphold though various international agreements.
Talked about old agreements to lower gas prices in ten years
The Saudis presented a plan to increase oil production over the next decade in what the Wall Street Journal described as a “recap of plans the Saudis already had announced.”
Worked out new agreement to deal with today’s sky-high gas prices
Today’s Washington Post: “President Bush and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah emerged from their meeting here Monday with no agreement that would lower gasoline prices in the near term.”