Concerned about their rapidly dwindling oil reserves, the Saudi Arabian government is now showering American universities with hundreds of millions of dollars in scientific research grants. The government wants elite schools such as Cornell, Stanford, and CalTech to dream up new methods for efficient oil extraction and reserve discovery.
Of course, this is not the first time that the Saudi Royal family has donated to elite institutions of higher learning. In 2005, both Harvard and Georgetown received $20 million from Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud to strengthen their Islamic studies programs. However, this donation is the more nakedly political of the two. As most everyone knows, Saudi Arabia's global prestige is dependent on their continued dominance of the oil export market. Unfortunately for them, the United States is on track to overtake their oil production by 2020. Their decision to fund this research at American universities is an unmistakable sign of desperation.
Luckily for them, our universities are perfectly willing to help them maintain their grip on American foreign policy. This, despite the fact that Saudi Arabia has one of the worst records on free speech and women's rights, two issues our universities claim to champion. This, despite the fact that helping Saudi Arabia improve their oil production completely contradicts these universities' pious paeans to "sustainable energy." It's hard to think of a better example of our universities' duplicity. Though they pay lip service to patriotism, human rights, and environmentalism, their lodestar, fundamentally, is money.