The Biden Administration is still considering punishing Saudi Arabia for its actions to cut OPEC oil production by 2mbd. If we have to guess when that decision will be made, just wait for the ice to melt in the North Pole. That will probably come first. What is on the table? Slow-rolling the defense package of the Patriot missiles the Saudis ordered from Raytheon who, today, is lobbying the White House to build a wall between our defense exports and foreign policy. Yup, just like Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) built a wall between oil gouging and his foreign policy. We say, do not let Saudi Arabia get away with murder again. If we do not act decisively to warn Mohammad bin Salman, he will again humiliate us and the international community. Openly and without regrets.
Every dinky dictator with vast oil and gas deposits is watching the U.S. response. If we show hesitation and lack of resolve, every one of them will challenge us in the region. It’s foreign policy 101 for the novices working the National Security Council and who oppose a resolute response to Mohammad bin Salman’s arrogance and stealthy war against the United States.
Is that you, Brett McGurk? Are you again lobbying to go easy on Saudi Arabia?
Nothing would halt Mohammad bin Salman’s hostilities towards the United States than the potential to lose the custody of the holiest city in Islam.
Saudi Arabia is not sitting pretty today when you consider the threatening alliance Russia has formed with its nemesis Iran as the Mullahs fight alongside the Russian troops in Ukraine. For those on the National Security Council arguing for Saudi relief fearing Russia might fill the void, think again. Why would Saudi Arabia sit on the same lap of Putin with Iran? To strike a peace that would weaken the al-Saud family in the face of Iranian expansionism?
There is no equation today that creates an advantage for Saudi Arabia to pick a fight with the United States; and if Mohammad bin Salman made a grave strategic mistake by lowering his oil input, he needs to pay a steep price for that mistake. Not just a slap on the wrist to encourage more emotional behavior on his part.
There are a garden variety of options the United States can unleash against Saudi Arabia. One of the most effective is to use the time left for Biden as President to convene an international forum to discuss the future of Mecca in the hands of a known murderer. As we said before, Mohammad bin Salman as custodian of Mecca looks like Jeffrey Dahmer is the custodian of the Vatican in Rome. Nothing would halt Mohammad bin Salman’s hostilities towards the United States than the potential to lose the custody of the holiest city in Islam.
Other options include assisting Qatar, whose leaders hate the al-Saud family, gain more international visibility by using the G7 or the G20 platforms. Let MBS watch with envy Qatar’s rise to more prominence because of his idiotic policies.
We must respond to Mohammad bin Salman’s hostilities with more determination than we are projecting.
THE FINAL WORD
All of our enemies know they can simply roll over the Democrats in Washington because of their appeasement positions on foreign policy. It really began when Iran kidnapped our diplomats in 1979 and only released them the day President Reagan became the U.S. President knowing well the Republicans would go to war to release the American hostages.
Nothing has changed since. Even though President Clinton bombed Serbia for 78 days in 1999 to stop them from massacring the Muslims of the breakaway Yugoslav nation.
Most of our enemies view the Biden Administration as indecisive and wimpy. Had it been a Republican administration Mohammad bin Salman would not have dared lower the Saudi production by 2mbd. That’s a fact.
Unfortunately, the response to MBS seems in line with the image the murderer in Riyadh, and so many other dictators around the world, have of the Biden Administration. That it will act but timidly and always too late.
We must respond to Mohammad bin Salman’s hostilities with more determination than we are projecting. This means we hit Saudi Arabia hard to put the MBS snail back in its shell. Or, respond with fear and expect another salvo in the future to bring back Donald Trump to the White House.