A Saudi-US partnership beyond transactions
The White House has confirmed that US President Joe Biden will visit Saudi Arabia this July in what will be his first trip to an Arab or Muslim country. Such an overseas journey could not be timelier: By meeting the Saudi leadership in Jeddah, the US leader can reinvigorate an alliance — one of America’s oldest — that is needed more than ever.
Policymakers may be primarily fixated on the global supply of oil, as well as the war in Ukraine and questions over the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or nuclear deal, with Iran. It is understandable that at a time of record gas prices, Americans cannot help but concentrate on the pain in their wallet each time they fill up their car. Likewise, it makes sense that Saudis are prioritizing the exciting opportunities of Vision 2030, as well as security needs stemming from the Houthi drone attacks that have repeatedly targeted population centers and civilian infrastructure in recent years.
But when Biden meets King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a narrow American and public focus on these security and economic matters would be a lost opportunity for both countries, the region and the planet.
We cannot forget that the US-Saudi partnership of more than 80 years has never been solely transactional, or about just oil and defense needs. From fighting global communism to repelling Saddam Hussein, and crushing Al-Qaeda and Daesh, the relationship at its…