In my view, political dissatisfaction needs to be accompanied by some sort of alternative proposal, indicating a different approach to the political situation of interest. Frankly, I assumed that this was a standard and rational idea when it comes to any realm of dispute-resolution. The ideology being: “You can complain about something, but give us something else to work with.” This is what differentiates pragmatic progressives from idiotic non-conformists. To the global community’s demise, and to my personal entertainment, certain political leaders don’t seem to understand this basic idea.
The 2013 United Nations Security Council elections were held in New York City on October 17th, the results of which awarded Chile, Chad, Nigeria, Lithuania and Saudi Arabia the status of non-permanent members of the UNSC. Many thanked their respective divine entities for the replacement of Pakistan as the member for the Asia-Pacific group, a particularly controversial member due to their nuclear capabilities and less-than-friendly relationship with India, another nuclear power. It was also a historic day, as it was the first time that Saudi Arabia had been elected to the UNSC. Political and cultural diversity was on everybody’s minds, and many celebrated the inclusion of one of the most outspoken nations regarding the Syrian Civil War. Here was someone to finally tell Russia, the US and France where to shove their diplomatic solutions. Except, not really. It seems to me that Saudi Arabia got out of bed the next morning still hungry to make history, because in an unprecedented move they declined their elected seat. It took Saudi Arabia less than 24 hours to undo 2-years worth of effort from their New York-based diplomats, who are probably sitting in some hotel room beating their heads into walls. I like to imagine, somewhat unrealistically, that it all unfolded in the following manner:
Reputable UNSC member: “Congratulations Saudi Arabia, you’ve been elected to the UNSC!”
Saudi Arabia: “Thanks. I try.”
Reputable UNSC member: “It is truly a historic day. We are all tremendously optimistic to be working alongside you in the coming–”
Saudi Arabia: “I decline the seat and denounce this election.”
Reputable UNSC member: “…what.”
Saudi Arabia: “Eat it, bitch.”
I must clarify that I do not aim to propagate an anti-Saudi or anti-Islam sentiment. I would be critical of this absurd attitude had it originated from Israel, Russia, France, China, the US, El Salvador, Côte D’Ivoire, Azerbaijan or Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. What I despise and lament is the childishness and irrationality demonstrated by Saudi Arabia. If they were truly seeking resolutions shaped around their own interests, they would’ve held to that UNSC seat as if it had been a precious jewel. Looking through the most basic Machiavellian lens of political interaction, it is blatantly obvious that for the advancement of Saudi Arabian self-interest, they need to attain and secure a firm position on the decision-making side of international politics. Instead, they partake in the most ineffective and imprudent form of protest, permanently reinforcing their image as obstructionists and extremists. Why? Because Saudi Arabia happened to be in disagreement with the manner in which the UNSC approached the situation in Syria. That fact is, it isn’t difficult to assume the role of back-seat driver in the sphere of international relations. What is truly an arduous and turbulent endeavor is to actively partake in the process, working with other global leaders towards comprehensive and constructive policy.