1000 GMT April 01, 2020
The friendship between the shark and the octopus is an interesting story with certain psychological implications. Narrated by one of the characters in the American drama film ‘Short Term 12,’ written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, the psychological story somehow reflects what is occurring at present in the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.
According to the story, “There lived a young octopus named ‘Nina,’ who spent most of her time alone. One day, a shark showed up and asked her: ‘Do you want to be my friend?’
“Happy at the idea that she could have a powerful friend, the octopus accepted the shark’s offer immediately. However, the shark had one condition for befriending the octopus: To eat one of her eight limbs. The octopus agreed to this condition as she thought she had eight of them and that it was not to be a great loss if she let the shark have one. So she gave her new friend a limb and their friendship began.
“They were happy together. Whenever the shark felt hungry, it demanded a limb from her and she gave it. One day, when the octopus had no other limbs to offer, the shark ate the octopus entirely.”
The real world examples of the shark and the octopus are the US and Saudi Arabia, respectively.
One side of the coin is that, at present, the Saudis, like the octopus who was blinded by her friendship with the shark and its benefits, are giving their arms and legs, flavored with oil, one by one to the gluttonous Donald Trump. Nevertheless, no one knows when and where the octopus would run out of limbs.
The other side of the coin, which has gone unnoticed, is that the Saudis are not giving their limbs to the US freely.
In 2016, former US president, Barack Obama, derided the Saudis as free-riders, according to The New York Times. This deeply angered the Saudis to the extent that during Obama’s visit to Riyadh, Saudi King Salman treated him with blatant disrespect.
Although as in the story, the octopus – Saudi Arabia – is neither capable of eating the shark – the US – nor any of its limbs in the real world, it is clearly doing its utmost through seduction and vows to see the shark stuck in the mud. Over the past years, Saudi Arabia has undertaken remarkable efforts to persuade the US to launch a military attack on Iran to see both its powerful regional rival weakened and the US stuck in a quagmire.
Although the avaricious Trump and his jingoist cabinet are seriously seeking to drain Saudi Arabia’s oil wells, one must not fail to notice that they are also the best prey for the Saudis.
Only time will tell which one will eat the other: Whether Trump would make his dream of becoming the world’s emperor, using the wealth of the Saudis come true, or Riyadh would be able to use Washington’s military power to both weaken its regional rivals and see Washington stuck in a swamp.
The Saudis have formed the biggest lobby in the political environment of the US and have deeply penetrated the country’s federal government.
It appears as if concerns voiced by the Democrats and those against Trump are legitimate, as the political decisions by the present US president has turned out to be unwise. This is what the Saudis have well understood.
* Mohammadali Heydarihaei is an Iranian journalist.