Saudis have been running budget deficits 4 - 5 percent of the GDP year after year. Might hit 7 percent this year.
Cutting spending may not be politically possible because it's buying peace. Official unemployment rate is less than 15% but it's estimated that only less than half of working-age Saudis hold jobs or actively seek work.
Foreign exchange funds provide buffers but their net foreign assets are gradually eaten away if oil price don't recover.
If this small sample represents the best of their country they are fucked. They are in for some hard times.
Oh boy here I go ... I am a student at KAUST (their flagship university with an endowment in billions), I would say that the ratio of students who take it seriously vs. the ones who just fool around is 1 out of 10, and I'm being generous. I once called out some guys for partying (drunk maybe?) while at our office space and was basically told (by a mid-level exec. nonetheless) to deal with it or they would kick me out if I kept 'complaining'. No one is accountable for their actions, research quality and personal integrity are mostly an afterthought. If you point out something that is wrong you immediately get ostracized and even get some benefits removed (with some bullshit excuse). This feels like a modern version of the Stanford prison experiment, people endure it mostly because the pay is good but it is pretty clear that this thing is going nowhere. I would honestly have left if it weren't for the great relationship I developed with the professor I work with, but I just want to finish quickly and get out of here.
To the guys running the show (I know they monitor HN as well): you really need to sit down and rethink if this attitude will help you survive in the post-oil era, because I don't think it will ...
He was a good guy and hard worker, despite his and my very different views on some things we could understand / respect each other. He just wanted to be someplace where people worked hard too.
there were those who were competent, wanted to be hands-on, and who were clearly very motivated and interested in getting things done. they were the minority. the rest were... shall we say, not workhorses.
I will leave on the side the political (dictatorship) factor.
I guess that manipulating oil price to hurt Russia and Venezuelan, also took a bite of Saudis wallet.
This is a very simplistic (and incorrect) view of the economic relationship between the United States and S.A.
First, the majority of Saudi oil is sold to Europe and Asia (not the United States) but it has always been denominated in US dollars - regardless of the purchaser. This enormous demand for US dollars in global trade that need not be related to the US at all has been to our great favor.
Second, a tremendous amount of the US dollar surplus that SA generates is immediately recycled back into the hands of US industry - specifically, military industry. SA is a ready buyer of whatever new technologies our military industrial complex produces and we are paid a great sum of money for this military partnership.
You personally may not be sharing in the profits but a tremendous economic benefit is realized by the United States and her technical and military industries.
For me it is the political aspect of interfacing with such "Powers". UK, USA, Russia had cause more pain and blood that anyone else in the last few centuries. I cannot forget this. But they have (mostly) cleaned up their act (some less than others).
As for the military industry, allow me to believe in a "Star Trek" humanity than a 'we got bigger-better-badder guns than you' future. Arms race benefit the weapons dealers and the warmongers, not the people who get burned by the napalms.
These are hugely complex discussions that are caused and causing many issues on different domains/areas. It may be too simplistic, but let's end energy dependency, let's make more schools, and education will pave the road for a better future.
Not really; Saudi Arabia has the highest quality and cheapest to extract oil sources in the world. They absolutely can afford to manipulate oil prices because they know with absolute certainty that their operational costs will be lower than other countries.
They have trillions of dollars invested globally. Problem is that equity is turning into a suckers' game and they want shareholders to be left holding the bag now that green energy is about to kneecap the oil industry. No thanks!
Look at this graph of US net imports of oil (etc). The bottom of the graph is zero. We are perhaps months away from being a net exporter. There are caveats, like the fact that the new oil (light) the US produces is not the oil (ie Heavy) that US refineries are optimized for, but this is temporary. Refineries can and will be retooled. Saudi Arabia cannot take the position of the US as primarily a customer (vs competitor) of oil for granted. https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=pet&s=m...
Here is what it looks like now (hit 3.1 million barrles per day in June):
Sept 12: "Booming shale production helped the United States briefly overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's top oil exporter for the first time earlier this year. US exports of crude topped 3 million barrels per day in June, according to the International Energy Agency, pushing its total oil exports to nearly 9 million barrels per day."
The US controls the global reserve currency, is the world's largest economy, has a $65k GDP per capita, is a massive manufacturing economy (#2 behind China), is by far the world's leading technology economy, and has 2x the wealth of the next closest nation (China). That reserve currency is presently under zero threat from other currencies in terms of being replaced. Why does that matter? It gives the US the ultimate financial weapon for dealing with its federal debt. It's a special position no other nation has.
Currently the US is paying about the same rate for its new debt as Greece and Italy. The Fed can continue to gradually press that lower until the point where the US is issuing zero yield debt as in the case of Japan. That means the US can - fortunately or unfortunately - afford to take on a lot more debt yet. Most likely 2x GDP or more, before there is a serious problem.
If more aggressive debasement becomes necessary, the US owns about 35-38% of all the world's wealth, and has 40% of all the world's millionaires. The US is adding wealth faster than any other nation, and was responsible for adding ~55% of all the world's new millionaires in the prior year. That wealth, along with the massive US income base, represents the Fed's room for debasement to deal with the debt (inflating it away in one form or another). US output per capita is about 2.5x higher than Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has none of those advantages.
They’ve got wealth and they have lots of underemployed and unemployed.
I haven't commented on UBI itself at all. I'm simply pointing out that lessons learned in Saudi Arabia hardly carry over anywhere else. Not sure which part is scary.
The current iteration is called the Citizen's Account program. But if it were called Saudi Basic Income, Saudi Social Security, or Saudi Protection Net, wouldn't the net impact be the same -- a scaled system of cash payouts for low and middle income citizens to support basic living expenses?
One of the claims UBI-backers make is the fact that giving everyone the same amount of money will be much simpler and require much less bureaucracy than income-based welfare schemes. So, I get my $1k this month, you get your $1k, the homeless guy under the bridge gets his $1k, Bill Gates gets his $1k, etc.
Perhaps what people need is not money but the political power to decide what they want to do with their common wealth (which could be UBI, of course).
Stateless refugees are a big problem today, and climate change is going to create a lot more of them. Jewish people were the group left stateless in the nationalist period after WWI, and we all know what happened there. If no country is willing to protect the rights of people whose nations deem them "problematic", UBI won't matter because there is still going to be an underclass that doesn't officially have rights and can be persecuted. You can then just cram all your political opponents into that box and watch fascism happen.
"We'll just give everyone money. Nobody will demand more and the promise of more money won't become the key election issue as governments directly try to buy off their citizens for votes. Nothing can go wrong."
Huh why would you do that!
It's like a comedy but it's not actually funny, just full of clowns.
I for one don't understand how it won't cause mass inflation. Every reason I read for why it won't is usually along the lines of "we did an experiment with 100 people, it turned out great!"
100 people != the population of a country
A car factory in 1950 employed so many people to make X cars. The factory of today employs far less people to make the same amount of stuff. Up until now we've all bought every increasing quantities of stuff so we've been able to absorb that extra productivity.
What happens then if our capacity to consume extra stuff is met? Or what happens when some proportion of the populace is now unemployed due to automation. They're kind of 2 sides to the same coin. Once consumption capacity is met, productivity increases just lead to increasing unemployment.
Of course you could leave them to rot. Or you could distribute the benefits of increased productivity to everyone.
Are we there yet? No, but we're using more resources than we should so we should probably hope that we reach that limit sooner rather than later.
So to answer your question, there wouldn't be extra inflation, because there wouldn't be extra consumption.
Andrew Yang's campaign states he believes that the UBI he is proposing will boost the economy because people will spend it. That's definition of consumption, right? Increased spending?
America already gives away vast sums of money to various people and programs, over $2 trillion annually. UBI is just a way of saying, "here's your share, spend it how you wish".
aka, he is proposing to give both impoverished people and billionaires UBI
A pipe dream that doesn't actually reflect human behaviour just the inclinations of some to demand others' things while calling them greedy.
UBI as suggested can't possibly ever work without being massively inflationary. It is indeed economic nonsense.
There are 3 kinds of people who espouse UBI. The dishonest political swindlers, the misled, and those who would vote for anyone who promises them money.
Wait until you find out how many support UBI and no immigration control.
Manufacturing is just like farming, except delayed. How many people are needed to plant and harvest a huge field?
Obligatory Syriana clip:
With quick look at their wikipedia page their P/E number with 1.1 trillion valuation is about 10. With 2 trillion it would about 20 which is quite insane if that's what they are asking. It's always these people who have distorted view of reality that seem the most damaging to this world. Worked for Steve Jobs maybe but I think in the end, he had a pretty good perception of the technology market.
Yeah, well. Good luck selling that thing. Can't really be a surprise for them that people aren't jumping out of their pants to buy Aramco stock. I think it would be a hard sell even with the 1.1 trillion valuation. Saudi-owned fossil fuel company. A dream investment.
The green energy revolution is wishful thinking, people really want it to be true and it distorts their expectations.
I also suspect that oil prices will remain low because of fracking and that Aramco is really hedging against that, not green energy.
Saudi deals are effectively backed by US.
And a country like Saudi, whose fortune solely depends on exports, can't bend the rules of trade and contract too much. It is very easy to sanction.
Kashoggi is what killed the project MbS had with this money (the futuristic city NEOM, read about it, that was interesting). MbS had spent a lot of resources painting himself as a progressive reformist, ready to make KSA evolve out of the charia law.
That killing put him back down the scale of dictators. He admit it made his project lose at least 10 years and that it was unsellable right now.
A single non elected ruler is going to make decisions on whim not process. As long as there is one unchecked person, you can basically be assured that unpredictability will be the norm.
There’s no such thing as absolute power in the realm of governance.
Mohammad bin Salman must retain the support of the heads of the army, secret police, and such or he will be replaced.
The Dictator's Handbook discusses this topic in detail.
The Rules for Rulers is an 18 minute video that summarizes some of the principles of the book.
There is no such thing as absolute power even in an absolute monarch. Power is paid for in one currency or another.
International rules are set up so that people have incentives to follow them.
Any leader, elected or not, may decide to nationalize and confiscate assets in his country. There are consequences to that and they are pretty serious.
If you own assets that get confiscated in KSA, depending on how your organization is set up, you can get judges to seize KSA assets in another country.
It does happen: https://www.businessinsider.com/hedge-fund-elliott-capital-m...
power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely
KSA is actively losing its leverage. MbS might not have those ten more years for his project.
Perhaps, but certain politicians like Elizabeth Warren would like to end that soon.
"On my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that puts a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases for drilling offshore and on public lands. And I will ban fracking—everywhere."
https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/17/business/elizabeth-warren-oil... (not paywall)
The only way we'd realistically be self sufficient would be a WWII type scenario in which EPA regs and emissions control were suspended due to some national security requirement.
Yes, because historically, that's what the US produced. The refining and transport infrastructure takes time to modify and catch up to the new markets, (especially after Warren Buffet and Obama's back room deals to the benefit Union Pacific RR).
California is set up for lighter crude because it has even higher costs and stricter environmental regs than the US standard, but the same premise applies. It's still cheaper for them to import the more expensive light/sweet than to refine heavy/sour from LA or Mexico or Colorado.
1) Saudi produces a range, including primarily heavy / sour, but because they and their Asia customers have lax environmental standards, whatever light / sweet product coming from or through Saudi Arabia tends to be traded to a western country with strict environmental standards. Because of the US (historically) having an excess of heavy, the US could export that heavy in exchange for a lesser amount of light, and still come out ahead after taking into account cost of refining.
2) Fracking produces mostly gas and light crude, yes, but North American production until the most recent boom was mostly the moderate to heavy sour product, (North Alaska, Alberta sands, Gulf of Mexico, pre-shale Texas). The shift is causing the existing infrastructure to be repurposed in sometimes unexpected ways, from pipeline reversals (ho-ho) to underused heavy refining / cracking capacity, to changes in trading partners.
3) Re: fracking limited to US and Canada-
That's (mainly) due to cost of extraction taking into account permitting and compliance. It's a result of political policy more than technical ability or what proven reserves are available.
Other countries either: 1) don't need to use new fracking methods, as it's cheaper to use traditional extraction methods, or 2) don't use new fracking methods because they're regulated to the same extent (or more) as traditional extraction methods, which still makes it relatively cost prohibitive. The US and Canada just happen to be in a regulatory "sweet spot" where new-style fracking makes economic sense.
I know that the Saudi Arabia rich families can be compelled to buy shares - but outside of the country?
But maybe I am silly because I have the similar thoughts about investments in China enterprises. But even that is on a completetly different level.
It’s mostly an aggregation of multiple sources, but they often have their own reports: http://ieefa.org/
It’s energy and finance related, focusing on the economics of energy globally & renewables.
I am sure saudi king will not dare to piss off american investors, otherwise arab spring in KSA would have happened already
Doesn’t really answer your question, but it did sound like not everyone was happy with Softbank rounds.
Yes. That's always struck me as the central problem. Outside investors have a claim on Aramco's earnings power, until they don't. Since you don't really get meaningful voting rights, you could end up with a certificate that's comically irrelevant to the way Aramco's governance (and money flows) really work.
OTOH, it's not just rule of law that might restrain the king. It's not in his best interest to cause a run/devaluation of shares in his kingdom's wealth.. in some senses in the crown. International corporate capitalism 1.0 was long-lived and happened while kings still had power... parliaments or not. It's not impossible Aramco could find some equilibrium.
Anyway, even just internal Saudi money could amount to a lot. A little bit of international billions would help boost their trust. I think it comes down to execution mostly, whether or not it happens.
Couldn't ask for a better time, macro-finance-wise.
Edit: wait, the head of Aramco is now a Softbank director? What on earth is going on there?
If VisionFund 1 goes under, losing $45bn is going to make Masayoshi Son really quite unpopular with the Saudis.
Current cash flow based on current costs, levels of production and royalty/tax payments are largely irrelevant.
Seems risky to me.
So this could (have) be(en) just their way to dump the company for the maximum amount of money while the getting was still good.
(Confirming in 2010 that we hit peak conventional in 2006.)
It takes years to confirm this kind of data...
And we don't even have access to Saudi oil data, the best we can do is something like this :
> Results show OPEC peak oil in 2028 at a production rate of 18.85 Gb/year and ultimate reserves of 1271.24 Gb.
Basically, there's going to be a dip in the worldwide demand for oil, and with the permian basin coming online, we can satisfy much of the world's demand for plastics and lubricants. Makes sense that they would try to get a last hurrah out there.
While catchy, that line is neither the title, byline, or even a sentence from the article.
EDIT: Ha! A search for the article shows the original title. So either Bloomberg is feeding clickbait titles purely to Google or they switched it after it went live. New title is "Saudi Aramco Needs to Get Realistic About Its IPO".
I'm guessing it's some sort of long running A/B experiment. They must have great data on how to write attention grabbing headlines.
The attack on saudi oil facilities and tankers, and this sort of whisper campaign, are supposed to put pressure on saudi and drive the price of oil up for Russia and Iran so they can afford more foreign intervention.
please diversify your sources of propaganda
This isn’t a jab at your comment more of a question. Here’s an article that talks about Arab army’s inefficiencies and has a lot to do with the family holding power over others.
Isaac Asimov’s concept of psychohistory isn’t as much fiction as it seems, groups of people have huge inertia.
A lot of the borders, and consequently sociocultural issues in central europe today are caused by kingdoms a millenium ago.
This may, in fact, be true. But in this specific context, it's an argument that proves too much.
We can't even measure GDP accurately in quarters already passed, let alone predict what it will be in future, and surely predicting the movement of GDP is the most basic task a psychohistorian could possibly set themselves.
Unless that original power structure is dismantled (a tough task since those in power entrench themselves against any insurrection), you can't fully say what a country's growth trajectory could have been. Botched though the surgery may be, the former colonies still seem to be connected to the colonists in some way.
Talking about blame is about status and power games right now.
If you want to understand what happened, the changes colonialism caused cannot be reversed and first-order effects are still obvious today. If you want to blame people, well, people love to nurse their grievances.
100 years is nothing in the grand scheme of things, but unfortunately, it can all be undone quite quickly. When older generations sacrifice short term gains for long term security is when progress can happen. Unfortunately, I don’t see much appetite for that where I’m from (the US), and once a sufficient number of people choose to take more from the system than they give, it will start decaying.
"How do you solve long-running civil war?"
"Murder all the grandmothers."
His point being that they were (a) the only ones who survived into old age (everyone else getting murdered) & (b) were thereby the ones educating a new generation in the hatreds of the old.
He was only half-joking.
But it really made me think about, as you say, just how long it takes for institutions to be built in a society. Which is order-of-"the time it takes for mindsets to change (usually via death) or new generations to rise into power (~40 years)".
I'd never really thought about it that way before.
Or put another way, it's easy to push systems towards increasing entropy, but hard to push them in the opposite direction.
That's part of why terrorism (of any persuasion) often chooses targets of symbolic value, like social, political, and economic hubs. They are trying to push the target social system toward entropy.
See also the overthrow of Iran, 2 invasions of Iraq, hundreds of billions of US arm sales to both Israel and Saudi Arabia, indirect involvement in the invasion of Yemen, the Russian/US/Iranian proxy war in Syria, I'm sure there's much more.
I can't think of another region of the earth that has faced more foreign involvement in the past 50 years.
They (Saudi Arabia) were a full participant in the partitioning of the Ottoman empire, and annexed much of the west side of the Gulf themselves.
The Saud dynasty did form an alliance with the US, but this wasn't until 1945. That's well after the what most people think of the colonial period, and the terms of the alliance were nothing like a colonial-style arrangement.
The effects of the agreement didn't magically go away just because the British empire was failing 16 years later though.
Being after the time people perceive as the colonial period isn't really relevant either, the arrangement is distinctly neocolonial rather than colonial and absolutely built the current strength of the Saudi regime. Of course that isn't to ascribe any unique evil to any of the players, the arrangement was very profitable for the Sauds and the Americans, and pursuit of profit, not geopolitical foresight is what drives any arrangement like this.
Reducing that to a question of "blame" I would agree is kind of an irritant 80+ years on... but it does serve the purpose of challenging other even more oversimplified views, such as assuming that the culture is predisposed not to thrive.
But isn't that just because they are a single-resource export oriented economy? It's Dutch Disease, but hundreds of times larger?
Britain passed the economic and military reins to the states
Why are you bringing up Britain here? They weren't a colonial power in Saudi Arabia. The closest they came was Kuwait.
Because I didn't know the history myself, tl;dr from Wikipedia:
Ottoman empire controlled the entire area at the turn of the century, to various degrees at various time. Al Rashid family allied with Ottomans. Al Saud family, under Abdulaziz (later, simply Ibn Saud), fought Rashids in the Riyadh region. During WWI, pan-Arab revolt against Ottomans encouraged by British. Ibn Saud mostly avoided participating in revolt to focus on defeating the Rashids, with the help of Ikhwan (Wahhabist) forces.
Pan-Arab revolt failed, but allies won, resulting in creation of independent Arab states. In years after the war, Saud and Ikhwan forces captured and most of modern day Saudi Arabia.
In 1927, the Ikhwan forces attempted to expand farther afield, into British-administered Arab successor states (Transjordan, Iraq, Kuwait). Saud disagreed, and a two year war was fought for control of Saudi Arabia. Ikhwan forces lost, most of their leaders killed, and the Saud family rules to today.
Are we just going to pretend the UK hasn't almost incessantly meddled in the Middle East for the past 75 years?
The Saudis (and other Middle Easterners) should own up to the issues challenging them, and work hard to overcome the colonialist past. That being said, colonialism continues to this day, just not in the outright visible way that happened previously. Just look at the West's interference in Middle Eastern politics.
I don't mean this personally against you, but people who tend to talk this way often don't understand the sheer magnitude of what colonialism wrought upon the world. And I understand why; it's downplayed in the history taught in the developed world, and generally only brought up where it resulted in more or less "okay" situations once it had more or less passed, like the founding of America. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Britain was perhaps the most prolific, but it was far from the only nation doing this shit.
Belgium skull-fucked the Congo for nearly a century, and did pretty much every horrific thing they could think of: mass executions, cut off limbs when the people couldn't pay their taxes, bought "land rights" from the locals for gemstones not even remotely worth enough, murdered probably millions of men, women, and children. IIRC the last time I read about this, by the time they were done almost 2 in 3 Congolese people were dead or crippled beyond the ability to work. Those left had no leadership qualities or training, since leadership was always Belgian and they fucked off home. They didn't know how to do pretty much anything other than grunt labor, and suddenly when Belgium left, had to figure out how to assemble a Government.
The kind of damage that does is incalculable. Not just the economic damage, not just the ecological damage from the mining and farming, not just the emotional toll left on the populace, etc. This sends shockwaves through history that will likely take centuries if not a millennium to fully dissipate. And then of course after Belgium left, giving the country back to it's populace, they started funding various tribes sitting on the natural resources they wanted, to start civil wars that would then last EVEN LONGER STILL, doing EVEN MORE DAMAGE.
And this is what just one nation did to one other nation. Colonialism as a whole was a bunch of nations ripping up a sizable partition of the entire planet's worth of places and people, the effects of which, mainly cultural loss/damage, and the incredible wealth enjoyed by developed nations remain to this day and show no signs of slowing down, save for finally the topic of national reparations being on the table.
Edit: And of course colonialist problems or ones that look a damn lot like colonialism continue to this day, from the ship-breaking beaches where workers are paid pennies a day to scrap ships from the developed world, sold to those firms because it's cheaper that disposing of them in an ecologically friendly way, to the exports of trash electronics to various nations where they demolish their environment to scrape out a meager living. People will look at these things and say "well why can't they just have eco regulation and proper laws, and just say no?" and the answer is that a shit job beats starvation, but the fact that those are their only options is itself a relic of colonialism.
Please try incorporate all the data when formulating a hypothesis.
True but one thing they can't be blamed for is the lack of infrastructure before they got there. Knowing that, they can't be blamed for the lack of infrastructure built after they left. Colonialism then is the same as corporatism today - there is a very large amount of value extraction, which good or bad, still exists. One can say that the cruelty has diminished somewhat, but perhaps that's because the wealth to be gained has only increased? Oddly though, this cruelty often means that the regions affected by it have better roads, cleaner water, at least traces of medicine, and on the whole better transit. Not always, to be sure.
Feel free to believe the common lie that every indigenous was a graceful peaceful person that wouldn't hurt a fly. Hard to come up with a greater untruth than that.
"Might Makes Right" is an appealing philosophy, until you're on the wrong end of it.
If you believe that "home grown" totalitarianism or serial killing is okay as long as it's "home grown", I can't help but feel bad for your awkwardly backwards "nationalistic" views.
This is not to say that all indigenous are serial killers, but some regions are well known for such behavior among their indigenous.
Edit: I don't believe in racism. Only genetics and statistics.
Apparently, Congo is in the 50 most violent countries. That's also recent. It has no accounting for what they were, but I'm willing to believe it may have been worse.
> Apparently, Congo is in the 50 most violent countries. That's also recent. It has no accounting for what they were, but I'm willing to believe it may have been worse.
Unless we have data that hails from the 1800's regarding pre-Belgium rates, which I'd say is pretty damn unlikely, I don't see how you can possibly make this point. It just sounds like good old fashioned racism with the window trimmings of science and data stripped of any and all context, which is a pretty standard fare tactic for a racist. "The crime rates are so high in Detroit, must be all the blacks!" Can't possibly be the catastrophic recession or the lukewarm response by the Government to address the problems, no, black people are just naturally violent. That's why we had to kill them and put them in chains.
Genetics is suddenly very unpopular as it can predict negative traits. Imagine that.
This happens when you have societies that do not adequately punish violence. Societies that reward violence will most certainly produce more violence.
In my background in the south, people want to justify their racism so they just say "I'm not racist, I am just making observations of people's behavior". That's just an excuse for being racist.
But here's the engineering counterbalance: What is the utility of atrocity memories, for those who were subjected to them?
How does recounting an injustice help build a better future?
There are concrete steps: colonial injustice means there should be international financial renumeration.
There are emotional steps: reconciliation councils provide a place for telling, listening, acceptance, and forgiveness on all sides without violence.
There are... maybe policy steps: people were traumatized in this way, ergo this is the best way to incorporate that into where we want to go.
Past that, not so much.
I absolutely own my first world, non-minority entitlement here. But my point is that it's not productive to anyone (including those who suffered) to simply relive trauma. And that it's easy, especially on the internet, to get trapped in a narrative of retelling, expression of sympathy, and then nothing gets done.
Stories should be told to move people forward. And if they don't do that, then aren't they themselves tools of oppression?
What do you suggest the Congolese tell their children happened for that block of time? What should they tell them when they ask about the mass graves? Their relatives who didn't survive, or the ones who did who just sit quietly in the corner and jump every time someone picks up a belt?
The traumatic history is their only history for this time period. That's not to say that nothing good happened anywhere, but this is akin to saying that the German curriculum should just pretend nothing happened between 1935 and 1950. Just because it was horrific doesn't change that it happened.
> I absolutely own my first world, non-minority entitlement here.
Are you, though? Because this is exactly how people talk to victims of rape or other violent crime; there's no use in recounting your trauma, just move on. As though that never occurred to them. As though that's not what they're trying to do, literally all the time. An emotional wound does not have a logical solution.
And the problem is impossible magnitudes larger when the victim wasn't a person, but a nation. I don't pretend to know what the average Congolese feels about this, but I have to figure those who know the history see the evidence and the landmarks of colonialism everywhere. And those who don't still suffer under it's long term effects.
> Stories should be told to move people forward. And if they don't do that, then aren't they themselves tools of oppression?
I would say they're effects of oppression. When you receive a really bad wound to your body, it leaves a scar. It probably doesn't hurt, maybe just feels strange when you move it just right, but it's there. Every time you see it, and for the rest of your life, you'll remember how you got it, whether it was a fun drunken stunt that went wrong, or whether you were ambushed in a park at night and nearly gutted for $12 in your pocket. You'll remember, you can't not. To say that the Congo and countries like it should just stop talking about their nation's collective injustice and just "get over it" is catastrophic simplification of a lot of human pain and suffering, and I'm sorry but when you're more closely affiliated with the side that did the oppressing than the suffering, it sounds a hell of a lot like trying to whitewash history because you don't like how it makes you feel.
If hearing this stuff makes you feel shitty, good. That's the correct reaction to learning about horrific events that have contributed, non-trivially, to the lifestyle you have. Now the next step, if you're inclined, is to get involved in activism that seeks to at least attempt to make these countries whole again, to share the benefits that the developed world has seen, and not just in the "whatever falls off the table is yours" way, but to find them a seat at that table.
If you have a point to make that's not outrage-driven, I'm happy to listen.
It's reasonable to expect any major effect to take several generations to revert to mean. If the person who suffered the effect is alive and plays a part in raising a child, the effect will continue to reverberate.
Other countries mess things up too of course, including the us. For example, the us just caused major problems with suddenly moving out of the way of the turkey invasion to the kurds. Maybe the us declined to get in a war with turkey to stop it or whatever it was, but we fucked things up by moving out of the way.
The problems in the Middle East region need to be solved, and only then this will be possible. Almost everything - from the current state in the various dictatorships over Kurdistan to the Israel/Palestine conflict (and even much stuff in the Asian continent, like the Pakistan/India conflict!) can be traced to the disastrous end of the British colonial era.
For example, most europeans do not worry much about the next war between france/germany/italy/spain/austria.
The "war is a constant between large powers in europe" issue appears to be solved enough, for now.
As long the English insist on sticking their noise -- and soldiers and arms and spooks -- in that area's business I would think.
Saudi Arabia was under Ottoman "control" (in quotes, because the idea of control in the Ottoman empire varied greatly) until WW1. After WW1 it became independent under Abdulaziz.
Saudi Arabia was never under British control.
a) The Pan-Arab uprising was a pretty minor affair in Saudi Arabia - mostly it was just an extension of the existing war/rivalry between the house of Saud and Al Rashid.
b) It was WW1. The most of the world was at war, and it is unreasonable to expect the Arab world to be unaffected.
Even look at the US, how long can the economic divide continue to grow? Eventually we will see mass protests across the country to take our government back from the companies and lobbyists that currently decide everything.
Once again, Copenhagen law of moral entanglement at work: any involvement in any complex moral situation makes you automatically responsible for it.
Yes, the period of colonialism that lasted a few centuries is to blame for the all the many years before and after of the Arab world fighting among themselves, as well as subjugating their population with backward, barbaric laws, to this day.
Was it Prince Harry or Prince William that ordered the Saudis to slaughter a journalist in a foreign embassy?
> Was it Prince Harry or Prince William that ordered the Saudis to slaughter a journalist in a foreign embassy?
What are you even talking about? This is very simplistic reasoning. The British have always been involved in Saudi politics since the founding of the Saudi state, and to this day. Just because they don't order direct execution of individuals does not mean disgusting crimes were not committed. Not to mention that it's not just the British that were and are messing with the politics of the Middle East to this day (does Sykes–Picot ring a bell?)
Not to put too fine a point on it, but Bin Laden and his boys managed to work out how to use the tools and techniques we gave him. So I'm thinking the probability is fairly high that this new generation of "freedom fighters" will also take to our training pretty well.
Only real uncertainty is how many American lives it will cost down the road?