Frances of Arabia speaks

The United States has sent a delegation of 18 representatives to the “no Jews allowed” global anti-terror conference that convened on Saturday in Riyadh. Yesterday Frances Townsend, the head of the American delegation, addressed the conference in a speech that is available here. It is remarkably (if unsurprisingly) obsequious to the Saudis:

On behalf of the President, I want to extend our warm and heartfelt appreciation to the Saudi Arabian government for hosting this event.
So recently after hosting pilgrims from around the world making their hajj and so close to historic municipal elections, the leadership and commitment the Saudis have shown towards finding practical and effective ways to fight terrorism are commendable.
And I must say, the courage and bravery of all Saudi counterterrorism forces, most especially Mabahith, is laudable and no doubt a source of enormous pride for all citizens of the Kingdom.
Here in Saudi Arabia, many lives have been lost and more have been wounded in the fight against evil.
To the injured and to the families of the killed, I say “thank you” – as a result of your sacrifice, the world is safer.

Then Townsend hits the historic anniversary of the meeting that resulted in the US-Saudi relationship:

I should also note that eight days from today, February 14, 2005, marks the 60th anniversary of the historic meeting between Saudi Arabia’s King Abd al-Aziz and then U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt aboard the cruiser U.S.S. Quincy at Great Bitter Lake in Egypt.
These two visionary leaders forged an enduring relationship that has weathered many challenges from the Cold War to the terrorism we face today.
And it is an honor to be invited here representing my country during this special anniversary of what can only be described as a critically important strategic partnership.

I think I understand the strategic considerations to which Townsend alludes, but this speech reads like America is kowtowing to the Kingdom. Over three years after 9/11, isn’t this act wearing a little thin? (Thanks to Michael Vidikan.)


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