The Washington Post is starting a new series on America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. It characterizes the relationship in these two paragraphs:

Not really hearing each other has long helped both countries sustain the idea that they are close allies, and not an odd couple. In fact, they could hardly be more different. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic monarchy ruled secretively by one family, the huge Saud clan, in collaboration with Islamic fundamentalists; it has neither free media nor transparent legal institutions, nor any guarantees of human or civil rights.

By not acknowledging their fundamental differences, neither country has had to confront them. Their relations have been a diplomatic version of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a phrase Bandar said might have been inspired by a verse from the Koran: “Ask not about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble.”