Saudi Arabia is a state that the United States has pledged to form a force of 35,000 specially trained forces to protect. It is a state that could not survive without the protection of the United States. It is a state that send US-built tanks to Bahrain to break up anti-government protests there and would use US-built tanks the same way to prevent its own people from gaining control of the state and establishing a government accountable to themselves rather than to Barack Obama.
But every once in a while US officials pretend to be upset that the Saudi government requires women to wear veils or does not allow them to drive.
Hillary Clinton has lent her support to women in Saudi Arabia protesting against the ban on female drivers, her first public comments on an issue complicating relations between Washington and Riyadh.Does Hillary Clinton want the Saudi government to allow women to drive? Then the same way her government "requests" that the country not build a nuclear industry, and requests that it isolate Hamas and requests that it oppose Hezbollah and requests that it fund anti-regime organizations in Syria and requests that Saudi Arabia not threaten Israel's military position in the region despite substantially more resources and a greater population, she can request that they allow women to drive.
A day after the US state department said it was handling the issue through "quiet diplomacy" and not public pronouncements, Clinton praised the protesters, but stressed they were acting on their own behalf, not at the behest of outsiders such as herself.
"What these women are doing is brave and what they are seeking is right, but the effort belongs to them," said Clinton. "I am moved by it and I support them, but I want to underscore the fact that this is not coming from outside of their country. This is the women themselves, seeking to be recognised."
The protests have put the Obama administration, and Clinton in particular, in a difficult position. While she and many other top US officials personally oppose the Saudi ban on female drivers, the administration is increasingly reliant on Saudi authorities to provide stability and continuity in the Middle East and Gulf amid uprisings taking place across the Arab world.
The United States - Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the rest of the US political system - does not care about any of the over 26 million people of Saudi Arabia, men or women. 5.7 million Jewish people in Palestine have a state where with a reserved political majority. That would not be possible if Saudi Arabia had an accountable government, so the US works very hard to ensure that Saudi Arabia will permanently not have an accountable government.
This supposed driving issue pales in importance compared to the US' real agenda for the people of what we call Saudi Arabia.