In part III of your critique, you quote Schwartz as follows:
America could readily take over the oilfields [in Saudi Arabia] militarily (they properly belong to Western companies anyway, which developed them and from which they were expropriated decades ago by the Saudi state). The only explanation is that we have morally acquiesced to the Saudis. We are reluctant to pronounce judgment on them. We don’t believe we are entitled to assert our own standards. We have concluded that we must compromise those standards—i.e., that we have to give up some of our freedom—in order to accommodate the wishes of tyrants. (38)
You then go on to say,
Well, this is not “the only explanation.”
You then give a detailed review of the evolution of the ARAMCO situation and how it was not a proper process of acquiring property, the point being, I suppose, that ARAMCO never had clear, legitimate title to the property.
So, is it your position that the real explanation for why we don't reclaim the oil fields is that Bush understands we never properly owned them? Is it your position that if we had properly owned them, Bush would smash the Saudis tomorrow and return the property to its rightful owners?
Would you have us believe that Bush is, in fact, prepared to pronounce judgment on Saudi Arabia, that he is prepared to assert our standards and back it up with action against the Saudis, if only ARAMCO had not so badly screwed things up? Are you saying that Bush is not willing to surrender some of our freedom to accommodate the wishes of tyrants?
And if you are not saying those things, what difference does all that detail really make? It is the specifics of how an irrational foreign policy gets implemented by a mixed-economy, semi-fascist, partially-free country. So what? Schwartz might be wrong on the issue of who properly owns the oil fields, but that surely does not make him wrong about how altruism and pragmatism have corrupted our foreign policy. And that is by far the more important issue.