Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Just How Bad Is Biden's Trip To Saudi Arabia?

 Yes, I posted on this awhile ago, but at that time it was a maybe. Now he is in the air on his way, although, of course, to Israel and the West Bank first, where I have no complaint or comment much.

So, basically what I said earlier largely holds, that this is not a trip with much good likely to come out of it. Main "goods"?: affirmation of in-place cease-fire in awful war in Yemen, a diplomatic triumph of the Biden admin, but I doubt much improvement on that situation happening from this trip. Yes, it will probably "affirm" it, but that is not much. 

Do not expect much on the Israeli front, either there, in the West Bank, or in terms of Saudi-Israeli relations, main reason for that is current Israeli government is in process of collapsing. Elections about to happen and we may have the awful Netanyahu back. Oh, I guess this may be an argument for Biden visiting at least Israel now while he can talk to the less bad current government before it falls.

On oil prices, well, I doubt Saudis will do much, and to the extent they probably already have, and crude prices did just drop below $100 barrel today (technically now yesterday), anyway, just prior to Biden's departure, which may be all he will get on that front, although people are ridiculing him for going just for this reason.

Oh, he might get some political prisoners out. Actually, I think that might happen. This reminds me of he old US-Soviet days.  Soviets would always let some political prisoners out at a summit. I suspect this will happen, there being a well-known and long list of these, a couple of whom I know personally.  Needless to say, there is no way to bring back the late chopped-up Jamal Khoshoggi.

Of course, the worst thing about this trip is that for oil prices Biden did not need it (and will not get much). He could have and should have cut the deal with Iran as he said he would. Gossip says he was too taken in by "the Blob" in DC that just hates Iran. But this was a deal that should have been done, and now the Iranians will be supplying drones to the Russians. This continues to be by far the biggest error of the Biden admin, way above all.  He should have ignored these Blob assholes and do what he promised to do, which the vast majority of the world supported him to do.  Super big mistake, making this whole trip look just awful.

As  a final note I shall dump on Trump and Jared Kershner more specifically for the fact that Biden has to deal with the authoritarian murderer, MbS. The not widely reported fact is that they aided in his coming to power in what was effectrively a coup, and he paid them off big time, especially Kushner to the tune of $2 billion when Trump left office. This is why he could not get a security clearance, Kushner. Jared visited and provided intel to MbS privately on his enemies before he pulled his coup. 

The coup was to send his Ministry of Defense people to the palace of the then Crown Prince, Muhammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al Sa'ud, much respected by US authorities who dealt with him, who imprisoned him and demanded that he step aside, which he eventually did. Trump and Kushner supported this. Bin Nayef was a reasonable guy, who remains under house arrest to this day. This is the real source of the fact that Biden has to deal with this horrible murderer, and, unfortunately, he must.

Barkley Rosser


Anonymous said...

Seems that the fist bump is the new diplomatic handshake all of a sudden.

Anonymous said...

Hi Barkley,

Can you give us some references/sources. Thanks.

Also, your comments on Kevin Quinn's post about
Muth and Lucas were very interesting (also, the
papers you were planning to present). If you
ever felt like writing a blog post about them.....
it would be great. Thanks. said...

Not sure what you want references for. A lot here.

One paper I am presenting, which is out online at Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, is "Complexity and Aesthetics: How Arts, Sciences, and Economics Coevolve." Yeah, not my standard fare.

Looks that Biden and MbS fist bumped, which some say is worse than a handshake. I am waiting to see if Biden has gotten anything at all out of this visit, hopefully some prisoners or hostages released. I saw nothing of even that in the initial reports, although there is another day there. said...

I shall add a deep personal matter I have not spoken of here previously, well I have indirectly. But I spent serious time in Saudi Arabia about four decades. A lot of bad things happened, and in the end I was asked by high level people in the US government not to speak about what went down, which really was bad.

However, I shall note a curious detail, relevant right now. The highest level Saudi I dealt with that I was especially most personally impressed by was, to give his full title not in the news today: Emir Khalil bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz al Sa'ud, although he is generally known in the current media as "Khalil al Faisal."

He is now he Governor of Mecca, where they just successfully finished the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which he oversaw. A few years ago there was a proposal to make him a "co-Crown Prince" with MbS. but that did not go anywhere. However, even as that might have put him in bad with MbS, the top guys there know the top Americans would have preferred to have Khalil than MbS as Crown Prince there, not a mass murderer, and a reasonable person.

Anyway, most view this as some insult, but it was Emir Khalil the Saudis sent to actually meet Biden on his arrival in Jiddah. said...

Now that it is over, it seems Biden got very little for that fist bump. I am not aware of a single human rights prisoner being released by the Saudis. He could have gotten at least that. Sone ongoing initiatives are continued, such as the cease-fire in Yemen. But that did not need a visit, much less a fist bump. About the biggest item seems to be that now there will be commercial flights between Tel Aviv and Jiddah. That does not amount to much.