Looking back over the course of a long impassioned life as attorney and activist, nothing has been a greater source of education and inspiration, for me as a person, than the decades spent working in the Middle East, Gulf and Africa.
Enrolled, there, as almost a student of life, I’ve seen and learned much in age-old cultures bound by tradition, sculpted by faith… a merger of weighty impressive consequence. Indeed, the winds of ancient history have a way of softening the arrogance that comes with the almost reflexive birthright that is the relative infancy of the West.
Like everywhere else, the young women and men of these regions are surely their most valuable resource. It is to them we look to build our future just as they protect our collective past. Yet, long ago, I learned wisdom is not a pre-ordained inheritance but rather comes with the passage of time and the knowledge and experience that is companion to that travel. It is a lesson that 32-year-old Mohammed bin Salman has not yet mastered.
Like an empty rap of Kanye West, bin Salman relishes his meteoric rise to the world stage where he is known simply as MBS. Shifting between traditional look and Gucci flash, depending on his imperial sale of the moment, he enjoys the trappings of endless wealth and political power without understanding, let alone exercising, any of its sophisticated, nuanced responsibility. Nor has he displayed an expansive mark of humanity in his reach for autocratic role.