Some recent developments in Saudi Arabia have pointed out why trying to engage all of the world’s countries toward certain important goals is so difficult. In the short term, at least, maybe impossible.
We want all of the world’s nations to make international peace everyone’s top priority. We’d like openness, equality and justice to guide all of our deliberations and policies.
Individual health and prosperity and global sturdiness and stability must be on everyone’s mind.
Of course, we have dissenters in certain of these enterprises. America has long had enemies, such as North Korea, China and Russia, whom we’re reluctant to trust and who haven’t demonstrated an eagerness to embrace all of our values.
For that matter, not everyone in America has accepted the gravity expressed by scientists who warn of the onerous effects of climate change.
A daunting challenge in the path of world unity can be seen in news stories out of Saudi Arabia.
First, remember that Saudi Arabia is the country whose Istanbul, Turkey, consulate was the site of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi's murder last year, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been fingered internationally as the main instigator.
Nevertheless, the crown prince is being credited with promoting changes in his nation that could deliver it into the 20th Century, at least, if not quite the 21st.
Among them is a law that will allow women to travel abroad without a man’s consent. That takes effect Sept. 1. Previously – or currently - women were regarded as minors and could not leave the country without the permission of the man in charge of her life. That man could actually be her son, in some cases.
Women now may take on the role of her children’s official guardian. They will also be allowed to register a marriage, divorce or the birth of her child, enabling the issuance of an identity card for her and enrolling children in school.
The crown prince has publicly pushed for seismic changes in how his country views women, finally according them privileges of adulthood most of the rest of the world has taken for granted for generations.
Most thoughtful and progressive people in so-called free countries wondered how any nation could thrive when it was utilizing the assets of only half the population, half the brains. When women are home tending only to their families, leaving political, economic and industrial decisions to only the other half, progress is stunted.
And how could the world come to important conclusions on crucial topics when certain of us continued to believe that half of its adults were no more functional than children?
It’s not that even bin Salman is entirely visionary. He is still cracking down on women’s rights advocates.
But Saudi Arabia has the youngest population in the world, with 50 percent of its 33.4 million people under age 25. International communication is enlightening us all, especially the young.
Youth will prevail.