If the world cannot live without Saudi oil but concludes that it also cannot live with the current Saudi regime, it may decide to separate the two, putting the Saudi oil fields under some sort of international control. They might be administered by the United Nations, with the proceeds going to the world's poorest countries rather than to the Saudi ruling family. This would cut off the funding for terrorism that, until now, has emanated from Saudi Arabia. It would represent a sharp departure from existing international rules and procedures. But if Saudi-funded terror continues, proposals of this kind will rise to the top of the international agenda.Does he actually think this sort of thing will work? What could he possibly be thinking?
Off the top of my head, I can imagine all sorts of problems with this idea. First, the UN is not the kind of organization you want in control of a lot of oil. Second, this assumes that the Saudis will meekly submit to an infringement of their sovereignty and a huge loss of revenue. In reality, this would mean a full-scale invasion and occupation, which would amost certainly be done by Americans. In that case, why not just take control ourselves? Does the Third World have some sort of claim on that oil we don't know about?
From all accounts, Mandelbaum is a sharp thinker who knows his stuff. Yet his answer to everything is a fairy-dust fantasy of internationalization and global charity to those in need. Note that there is not a single reference to military force in the above paragraph, nor is there a reference to any Saudi reaction. It's as if we could create ex nihilo a solution to all of Life's problems.
I don't get it. He saw the problem clearly, but could not bring himself to identify the clearest solution. This was probably influenced by the unstable situation in Iraq at the time, but still, he should have done better than to reflexively float off into Multilateral Land.
I don't know. I just don't know. You say the magic words "military conflict," and otherwise rational people curl up in the corner and start whimpering. That is not a great way to engage in intellectual speculation.