The Stupidity of Kissing Up to MBS
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Tim Miller: Mohammed bin Salman is a murderer and a madman who has used his wealth to make American presidents and athletes and Hollywood stars eat out of the palm of his hand.
Saad Al Jabri: I am here to sound the alarm about a psychopath . . . with infinite resources.
Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, better known as MBS, is a very bad man indeed. Most famously, he ordered the gruesome killing via bone saw of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who wrote for the Washington Post and was critical of the Saudi regime.
Luiz (bulldog from Rio 2): That’s messed up!
Rupert Brooks (Sisqó in Snow Dogs): But wait, there is more.
Miller: He attempted another assassination when he sent a kill squad to Canada, to take out Saad Al Jabri, an American national security ally and adviser to a rival Saudi politician. The Canadian Mounties stopped it.
Mountie (on South Park): Oh, this is as far as you go, buddy!
Miller: But to this day, MBS is holding two of Al Jabri’s kids hostage.
Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini on The Sopranos): That’s deplorable.
Miller: He’s also unjustly detaining American citizens. Some of whom have been tortured in prison. Also on his rap sheet: a war in Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians; the kidnapping of Lebanon’s prime minister; imprisoning women’s rights advocates; an increase in brutal executions and beheadings; and keeping an open financial relationship with Putin, despite his atrocities in Ukraine.
Babu Bhatt (Brian George on Seinfeld): He is a very bad man.
Miller: This is exactly the kind of despot America should ostracize or clamp down on—a Middle Eastern Kim Jon-un—but we’re not, because here’s the difference between MBS and KJU.
Bruce David (on Tiger King): It’s money, money, money, money, money.
Miller: Saudi is oil rich, which means they got plenty of quid to throw around at Phil Mickelson—
Young Sterling Archer: Douche!
Miller: —and leverage over politicians, who desperately want more oil supply to ease gas prices. And POTUS is no exception. Last week Biden went to visit MBS, where he gave him the fist bump from hell. This sad suck-up was so alarming that even loyal Democrats in Congress rebuked Biden.
Dina Fox (Lauren Ash on Superstore): Yikes!
Miller: Biden’s limp attempt to get in bin Salman’s good graces is stupid, on multiple fronts. For starters, French President Emmanuel Macron, made a good point when he was caught in a hot mic telling Biden that MBS doesn’t have significantly more oil supply to release. And even if he could, why would MBS do a favor for the man standing between him and his dancing partner, Donald Trump? MBS would gladly bone saw Biden’s political chances to get his errand boy Jared Kushner back in the White House. Lil Kush became so mobbed up with MBS after Trump lost, he got $2 billion in Saudi blood money for his investment funds.
Leopold “Butters” Stotch (on South Park): There’s nothing illegal about what I’m doing.
Aldo (on BoJack Horseman): That sounds legitimate.
Miller: But MBS hasn’t just bought off politicians. Saudi grabbed a Premier League soccer team, is funding big-budget Hollywood films, and is now starting a golf tour that competes against the PGA, giving players insane sums of money to put their conscience in a little lockbox. Well, except for our lovely lad, Rory McIlroy.
Rory McIlroy: It feels like you’re taking the easy way out.
Freedie Wiseman (Carl Weathers in The Comebacks): That’s because they are.
Miller: What MBS is doing here has a name: sportswashing. He’s paying to clean his money and his reputation, to give him even more influence on the world stage and ensure that he’s never ostracized like lonely, NBA-loving Kim Jon-UN.
Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 2): So weird.
Miller: This sportswashing will collide directly with American politics in a few weeks, when the Saudi tour holds its big event at—you guessed it—Trump’s s*** golf course. Which Democrats can’t even righteously criticize now, given Biden’s recent trip.
DJ Khaled: Congratulations, you played yourself.
Miller: All this is another reminder why people don’t trust our institutions. When it turns out basically everyone with influence is a dancing whore for a dude who chopped a journalist to bits if he’s got a few billy to throw around.
Alma Winograd-Diaz (Rosa Salazar on Undone): Well, that’s depressing.
Miller: It’s the exact kind of story you can read more about in my new bestselling book, Why We Did It, on shelves now. Go get it people!
Philip J. Fry (on Futurama): Shut up and take my money.
Miller: See you next week for more, Not My Party.