How a lone hen turkey saved our relationship with the Saudis

This is a story from more than six months ago being noticed in the Middle East — how a lone hen turkey on Bush’s ranch saved our relationship with then Crown Price and Regent of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz — now King of Saudi Arabia.

During the second intifada in 2002, when relations between the two countries were at a critical low point, George W. Bush tried to charm the Saudis. He first tried to win them over with an earnest conversation about religion — which, for some reason, did not go down well. But on learning that the Crown Prince liked his farm, George Bush decided to invite the regent of the Kingdom to Crawdord to share his farm with Prince Abdullah, which they toured on Bush’s Ford pickup.

I point out the different kinds of hardwood trees, the native prairie grasses that Laura had planted, and the grazing cattle. The crown prince sat silently. I wasn’t making much headway.

Then we reached a remote part of the property. A lone hen turkey was standing in the road. I stopped the truck. The bird stayed put.

“What is that?” the crown prince asked.

I told him it was a turkey. “Benjamin Franklin loved the turkey so much he wanted it to be America’s national bird,” I said.

Suddenly I felt the crown prince’s hand grab my arm. “My brother,” he said, “it is a sign from Allah. This is a good omen.”

I’ve never fully understood the significance of the bird, but I felt the tension begin to melt…The next day, I got a call from Mother and Dad. The crown prince had stopped in Houston to visit them. Mother said he had tears in his eyes as he recounted his time in Crawford and talked about what we could achieve together. For the rest of my presidency, my relationship with the crown prince — soon to be king — was extremely close. I had never seen a hen turkey on that part of the property before, and I haven’t seen one since.

Benjamin Franklin was right after all!

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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5 Responses to How a lone hen turkey saved our relationship with the Saudis

  1. Khalid says:

    First, Mr Franklin is a funny dude!

    Second, this just shows how silly and stupid the Saudi King is…

  2. Curzon says:

    Silly and stupid? Who do you like as his successor? Sultan? Abdul-Rahman? Nayef?

    We are going to really be sorry when he’s gone…

  3. Alfred Russel Wallace says:

    Three cheers for the Turkey… or whatever it takes for good relations with Saudi Arabia.

  4. Scott says:

    Okay, that still doesn’t help us with our current situatuion in the Middle East, the Saudis are poed that we let Mubark fall and now they are takig aggressive action toward thwarthing the preceived Shia threat, and as a consquence raising oil prices