King Abdullah and his million dollar smile or should I say Billion!! The smile is genuine and it really lights up when he stops at a school to talk to children. 

After my last post I have heard from many who say why doesn’t the King just decree the changes he wants, for he is the King.  I suspect he wishes it worked that way but in Saudi it doesn’t. Saudi is more run by consensus and getting other family members to your side on a decision you want to make. It is a delicate balance to not over play your hand and bring on internal problems.

The king has great power and prestige and could force a lot issues but if he creates enemies within the large Royal family he could make himself a target from within. He was well prepared to be king and a great part of the reason was his mentoring by Abdulaziz Al-Tuwaijri who was asked by King Saud to form the Saudi National Guard. Abdulaziz was head to the guard until his death and during that time he had the opportunity to spend a lot time with the then young Prince Abdullah.

Abdulaziz was a pro westerner and was close to the first President Bush and was right beside him and one of the first  supporters of President Bush in the Gulf war. In fact some of the first armor vehicles that were lost going into Kuwait were 6 vehicles from the Royal Guard.  When Prince Abdullah became Crown Prince he continued to influence the Princes world view which was pro west and a moderate in dealing with their own people and the world. 

I have had the privilege to get to know this family and spent time with them. They are a family and puts action to their talk about caring for others. many mornings of the week outside their compound in the center of Riyadh they serve breakfast to the less fortunate and they don’t leave it up to employees to do it they are their themselves, the family,  serving the food and showing they care.  Some of my most cherished memories of Riyadh is time spent with them.

We must remember change comes slow most places in the world and much more so in the more religious countries. Our foreign policy has gone from bad to worst over the last five years and hopefully at some point some one in Washington will wake up and stop punishing our friends and supporting our enemies.

I am reminded, of some of my first lessons in business 101, when you need to try and change someones behavior was to use  Positive Negative Positive. In other words you find some thing positive about the person or their actions then deal with the problems and the changes and then leave them with a positive affirmation.  What a difference in the results then a lough mouth boss belittling a person who made a mistake. Oh if only our state department and foreign affairs people had taken this class.

I believe the answer for change in the U.S. is if the people rise up and let their voices be heard and demand change by our politicians. Yes one can still make a difference.  

Until next time be Safe,