One important lesson I would teach the Bush administration if invited is the radical idea that their immediate interests are not always coincident with the immediate interests of our less-than-savory allies. In fact, sometimes there aren't really even tenuous points of contact between the two:
Bush administration officials have been scratching their heads over steps taken by Prince Bandar’s uncle, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, that have surprised them by going against the American playbook, after receiving assurances to the contrary from Prince Bandar during secret trips he made to Washington....
[I]n February, King Abdullah effectively torpedoed plans by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for a high-profile peace summit meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, by brokering a power-sharing agreement with Mr. Abbas’s Fatah and Hamas that did not require Hamas to recognize Israel or forswear violence. The Americans had believed, after discussions with Prince Bandar, that the Saudis were on board with the strategy of isolating Hamas.
American officials also believed, again after speaking with Prince Bandar, that the Saudis might agree to direct engagement with Israel as part of a broad American plan to jump-start Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. King Abdullah countermanded that plan.
Most bitingly, during a speech before Arab heads of state in Riyadh three weeks ago, the king condemned the American invasion of Iraq as “an illegal foreign occupation.” The Bush administration, caught off guard, was infuriated, and administration officials have found Prince Bandar hard to reach since.
Leave aside for now the question of which course of action (American or Saudi) is actually wisest. It's obvious why these moves by Bandar would be disappointing to the administration (and therefore equally obvious why the administration would go straight to the press to get the word out that Bandar has gone off the reservation). But the idea that these are somehow surprising moves by the leaders of a fairly radicalized Sunni country is totally ridiculous. The Saudis' one-time (and perhaps future) willingness to play along with controversial American policies in the Middle East was based on an assumption of reciprocity. And when you've degraded your own country's ability to provide incentives for a different country to act against its immediate interests you probably shouldn't be surprised when that country refuses to act against its immediate interests.