For years, experts believed liberal democracy would gradually spread around the world but the system has eaten itself and the result is a new global populism.
The most obvious factor in the ongoing conflict between Canada and Saudi Arabia is the grotesque disproportion between cause and effect. In that a minor diplomatic protest has triggered a set of measures which almost announce a military conflict.
Here’s what happened. Saudi Arabia finally allowed women to drive, but at the same time arrested women who campaigned for the right to drive. Among the arrested peaceful activists was Samar Badawi, who has family in Canada, and Ottawa demanded her release.
In return, the Saudi government proclaimed this protest a reprehensible interference in its internal affairs and immediately launched into sanctions. They included expelling the Canadian ambassador, canceling the state airline’s flights to and from Canada, freezing new trade and investment, the sale of assets in Canada, the withdrawal of students and the repatriation of patients undergoing treatment in Canada.
And all this under the guidance of a crown prince who poses as a big reformer.
In reality, what we have is a clear sign that Saudi Arabia remains what it is, not a real state but a large mafia corporation run by a family. And a country which quite reprehensibly interferes in the internal affairs of Yemen, literally ruining the nation.
The message of simultaneously allowing women to drive and arresting those who demanded it is clear and unambiguous, there is no contradiction here: If small changes happen, they must come as an act from above and no protest from below is tolerated.