Madawi Al-Rasheed, 21 March 2019
If Saudi progress is to be measured against Western models, then we had better be sure we measure everything – not just the words of a prince, or how excellently he adheres to McKinsey’s economic plans. Behind all the distorted coverage of Saudi Arabia, it seems to me, is an exoticising assumption: they’ll never be quite like us, though they deserve extravagant praise for trying. But Saudi Arabia is a country like any other. Autocracy and dictatorship are not its natural or inevitable forms of government. Journalism that celebrates incremental reform while ignoring the structural problems of life under absolute monarchy is no help. But I imagine most of the part-time Saudi-watchers would be horrified at the thought of a real revolutionary change that might eventually lead to a restriction of the powers of the monarch, or even the monarchy’s abolition.