On whether the United States should limit foreign aid to Saudi Arabia over Saudi schools’ use of textbooks that promote intolerance:
It’s not just a Saudi problem. The problem is that the Wahhabis, who control Saudi Arabia, have this influence around the Muslim world (a) because they control Mecca and Medina, so it gives them religious authority, and (b) because they are awash in money, oil money. And with that, even though they are a tiny minority, the Wahhabis, in the world of Islam, they have unbelievable influence in the pedagogy around the world.
They’re the ones who establish academies, staff the schools, and provide the texts all over the world, in Indonesia, throughout Asia… even in Western Islamic academies. And that spreads this Islamic intolerance — the reflection of one sect influencing the majority of Muslims who aren’t Wahhabis — in a way that is very disproportionate.
And the answer I think is not cutting off aid, because in the end there is not going to have any influence on Saudis. We are in hock and dependent to the Saudis because of our addiction to oil. The answer, and it’s a long run answer, but it’s the only answer, is energy independence. We have to drill everywhere — offshore, in the Arctic. We have to do the fracking we are doing inside the United States to get shale oil and gas. Keystone pipeline. Every available resource.
We are the Saudi Arabia of many of these energy sources. We are not exploiting them. Only when we have independence will we be able to exert any influence on Saudis. Until then, we have none.