by Barkley Rosser
Just How Bad Is Biden’s Trip To Saudi Arabia?, Econospeak
Yes, I posted on this a while 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 are 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 the 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 done 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 Kushner 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 effectively 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.