Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The USA - A Democracy for Sale

Saudi Arabia wants to build two nuclear reactors. This might seem surprising for a country with lots of oil and a seemingly unlimited potential for solar energy. So why does Saudi Arabia want to go nuclear? Obviously Saudi Arabia is keen to join the ever growing list of countries that own their own nuclear weapons. Perhaps that is why it wants two nuclear reactor and is also reluctant to deny that it might use them to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

Luckily nuclear non-proliferation treaties mean that the USA can't sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately the Trump administration is pursuing a deal to try to sell the Saudi's the two nuclear reactors anyway.

You might wonder why the Americans would want to help another brutal dictatorship get nuclear weapons. There are two possible reasons. One is that this could be just another example of Trump's 'America First' policy. America just grabbing the money while it can and screwing the consequences for the whole world. Another reason could be the influence that Saudi Arabia has over American legislators.

We all know that in American politics money talks. So let's take a look at Middle East Lobbying: The Influence Game. Al-Monitor's interactive map reveals the amount of money that Middle East countries spend on lobbying the American government. Every year Al-Monitor reveals how much money Middle-East countries spend on lobbying and also assess how successful each country has been in its lobbying.

The kings of Middle-East lobbying are of course Saudi Arabia. Last year Saudi Arabia spent $14 million in lobbying American politicians. Obviously just spending that money doesn't mean that they were successful in buying any influence. To determine if the USA's democracy is really for sale we would have to see if the Saudi's actually achieved anything, such as becoming Trump's first official visit or successfully buying nuclear technology.

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