When Joe Biden went to Saudi Arabia in July to shake hands with Mohammed bin Salman, he was obliged to swallow his arrogance. Biden’s discomfort would have been worth the benefit if it had undermined Vladimir Putin’s Russia, even though he exposed himself to allegations of hypocrisy after designating the monarchy as a pariah. Such a consequence hasn’t been seen.
Since then, the despotic crown prince of Saudi Arabia appears to have gotten closer to Putin. Is there anything Biden can do to stop Saudi Arabia from continually putting a pain in America’s side?
Saudi Arabia’s implied response to that is yes, provided that Biden is replaced by another president—preferably Donald Trump. The Saudi crown prince has close links to the Trump family and openly disdains the Biden government.
Thus, Saudi Arabia has joined a limited club of nations that supports one of America’s political parties over the other. This applies to the governments of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Viktor Orbán’s Hungary, and Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel. America’s openness may sometimes be its downfall in the chaos of the modern world.
Three factors suggest that Biden’s America will face increasing difficulties from Prince Mohammed’s Saudi Arabia. The first one is monetary. Making ensuring the current decline in oil prices doesn’t revert is Biden’s top priority. This decline had nothing to do with Saudi Arabia, which reduced Putin’s income in dollars and boosted Democratic prospects in the forthcoming midterm elections.
The decline in China’s economy was mostly to blame. Following Biden’s visit, Prince Mohammed decided to increase Saudi Arabia’s daily production by a meagre 236,000 barrels.
But Obama and Putin decided earlier this month to reduce the “Opec plus” quota by a third. More cutbacks are probably coming. The Saudis like oil prices above $100 per barrel.
The crown prince’s disdain for advice from Western liberals is the second. Trump and Biden’s rhetorical differences are night and day. According to Biden, there are democracies and autocracies throughout the globe. Trump has a penchant for strongmen; his first foreign trip as president was to Saudi Arabia. Prince Mohammed is quickly elevating himself to the status of autocrat.
He most likely chose to skip Queen Elizabeth’s burial on Monday for this reason. The demonstrators’ skirting would have been embarrassing. The recent imprisonment of two female activists by Saudi Arabia for sharing divergent opinions on social media demonstrates how little Prince Mohammed cares about Biden’s worries.
Even by the norms of strongmen, both sentences—45 years and 34 years—were severe and readily avoidable. The crown prince appears to be arguing that Biden’s principles are irrelevant.
The last justification is that Prince Mohammed has a deep-seated preference for Trump’s foreign policy over Biden’s. The relationship between the crown prince and Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of Trump, extends much beyond their WhatsApp friendship. Despite the fact that Kushner had only ever worked for his family’s real estate company before, Saudi Arabia’s national wealth fund invested $2 billion in Kushner’s private equity firm last year.
Kushner’s operations were deemed “unsatisfactory in all respects” by a Saudi screening panel. Prince Mohammed, though, ruled in his favour. This most likely salvaged Kushner’s business plan. The majority of its funding comes from the Saudi fund. Congress is looking into the transaction.
After US intelligence services stated “high confidence” that the crown prince had authorised the operation that resulted in the horrific 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi writer and dissident, Kushner vehemently supported Prince Mohammed.
For Prince Mohammed, risking $2 billion now might result in a significant reward down the road if Trump and his family win back the White House.
Biden is frustrated by the little of action he can do to influence Prince Mohammed’s decision-making. Saudi Arabia’s financial stability as well as Russia’s are at risk due to the west’s rekindled renewable energy aspirations.
According to the majority of predictions, the use of fossil fuels will fall during the next 10 years. It should come as no surprise that Saudi Arabia and other exporters aim to maximise their profits while they can. They never lack for clients, with China leading the pack. Later this year, when President Xi Jinping is set to pay a state visit to Saudi Arabia, they will undoubtedly shake hands warmly on the red carpet.