Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

US Should Stop Playing the Supplicant to Saudi Arabia

Posted by M. C. on May 4, 2022

America, Not the Corrupt Medieval Dictatorship, Is the Superpowerby Doug Bandow

Pity President Joe Biden. His spendthrift fiscal policies spurred an inflationary wave. His sanctions against Russia roiled energy markets, already suffering from long-standing restrictions on the sale of Iranian and Venezuelan oil. When he went, hat-in-hand, to the oppressive Saudi monarchy the king refused to take his call.

The Emiratis treated him no better. Even though the US rushed to Abu Dhabi’s aid when Yemen’s Houthi rebels finally began shooting back after years of attacks on civilian targets, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayad al-Nahyan complained that Washington did not act sooner. Obsequious Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Abu Dhabi, prostrating himself while promising to do better in the future.

So far neither “friend” of America has produced any extra oil. Indeed, it appears that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MbS, is gambling on the return to power of Donald Trump, who acted as consigliere to the bin Salman crime family. The Saudi list of grievances is long, but all reflect anger that Washington sometimes puts America’s interests before those of the Kingdom: “the administration’s restrictions on arms sales; what [MbS] saw as its insufficient response to attacks on Saudi Arabia by Houthi forces in Yemen; its publication of a report into the Saudi regime’s 2018 murder of the dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi; and Biden’s prior refusal to deal in person with the crown prince.” For Crown Prince “Slice ‘n Dice,” used to kidnapping, jailing, killing, and even dismembering his critics, such behavior by Washington is unforgivable.

The Biden administration’s current fixation is finding increased oil supplies as it pushes to ban Russian sales. Going to America’s Persian Gulf “allies,” particularly the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, was Washington’s most natural move. However, both benefit from higher oil prices, collecting more revenue and stretching out production. Without being offered something in return, they had no reason to agree.

The administration also could satisfy its objectives by relaxing sanctions on Venezuela – Trump’s attempt to achieve regime change by starving an already impoverished people failed spectacularly. The Maduro regime is malign, but Washington has punished the Venezuelan people more than the government. Biden officials recently ventured to Caracas to discuss oil exports but so far have failed to act, presumably fearing the domestic political consequences.

Similarly, restoring the JCPOA, the nuclear deal with Iran, would bring substantially more oil onto the international market. The Trump administration’s decision to wreck the agreement, a political gift to Riyadh and Jerusalem, proved disastrous. Although candidate Biden said he favored America’s return to the pact, which limited Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, President Biden retreated, fearing congressional criticism. So far he has refused to lift poison pill sanctions imposed by Trump to forestall revival of the deal, and the agreement is in limbo.

So oil prices remain painfully high with mid-term elections just six months away.

Now members of the infamous Blob, America’s foreign policy establishment, are urging Biden to do a full kowtow to Riyadh (and presumably Abu Dhabi as well), doing the royals’ bidding as before. 

See the rest here

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