US President George W Bush, on the second day of a visit to Saudi Arabia, has raised concerns over oil prices.But, Mr. Supreme Decider El Presidente, what about duh-mocracy? What about the equal treatment of wymmyn? I thought, way back when you kicked off the Global War on Turr' and All Other Suboptimal Things, that you announced that regimes failing to meet the standard of liberal secular western wonderfulness that prevails in, say, Dallas-Fort Worth would have to go. Wasn't that why you put the righteous beatdown on them-those Afghan Tally-bans?
Mr Bush made the comment in a meeting with Saudi business leaders and later took the concerns about the effect on the US economy to King Abdullah.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said the kingdom would boost production only if the market justified it.
Saudi Arabia is the world's biggest oil exporter and a leading member of the oil producers' cartel Opec.
Mr Bush said "high energy prices can affect economic growth because it's painful for our consumers... [and] could cause the US economy to slow down".
He added: "I would hope that as Opec considers different production levels that they understand that if... one of the biggest consumers' economy suffers it means less purchases, less oil and gas sold."
But no, you didn't drop the Word about Holy Democracy on the House of Saud, there in the homeland of almost all the 9-11 hijackers. Instead, you appear to have placed hat in hand and, with utmost obsequiousness, suggested to The Royal Potentate of Petroaffluence and Almighty Hand on the Oil Valve that gee, us Uh-mur'kans sure would like some cheaper gas in our tanks. The Princes of the Desert -- to their credit -- appear to have suggested politely that you go defecate in your hat.
So, after that resounding success, you made your way to Egypt. There, it was a different story. Since the Sons of the Pharoahs aren't the big oil fountains that the Saudis are, and since torture services can always be outsourced to "new Europe" or supplied at Guantanamo or Bagram or Camp Victory or Camp Bondsteel or various other places whose names I obviously don't need to know, you felt a little more free to preach your sermon:
Speaking in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh Mr Bush said that he hoped Egypt would build on moves towards greater democracy.Ah, yes, The U.S. has such "concerns over Egypt's human rights record" that Egypt is one of the frequent destinations of those secret CIA rendition flights.
Standing with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, he stopped short of directly criticising Egypt's government.
The US has in the past raised concerns over Egypt's human rights record and its treatment of the independent press.
Mr Bush said that Egypt had "taken steps towards... democratic reform and my hope is that the Egyptian government will build on these important steps and give the people of this proud nation a greater voice in your future".
Egypt's banned opposition Muslim Brotherhood - which holds a fifth of the seats in parliament - staged a protest in Cairo on Tuesday against Mr Bush's visit, which was only due to last three or four hours.
My country is short on many things: meaningful education, manufacturing industry, a sustainable economy, peace, real morality, liberty ... many shortages. But not everything. One thing the U.S. seems to have plenty of is concerns.
About other people's business, that is.