Backlash to the Backlash
OPEC Logo. Source: Wikimedia commons
Op-ed commentary on U.S. criticisms of the recent OPEC+ decision. Hopefully updated as time permits, but a packed work schedule does not permit much spare time this semester! As always, this is a selective look at the op-ed pages because there is only so much time in the day (and not much of it at that).
It’s the Economy, Stupid
The truest statement amid this tension was President Biden’s. He remarked on the decision to cut production that “there is a problem.” This is true, as the problem is in Washington, and the Democrats specifically who believe that foreign policy consists of arrogance, when in fact politics is the language of interests. Accordingly, Saudi Arabia does not support Russia, but rather seeks to achieve its interests, and this is a legitimate right. The story is simply, according to Bill Clinton’s famous campaign slogan: “It’s the economy… stupid.” Tariq Homayed, Aawsat, 10.9.2022
FWIW, note also that Homayed has become quite bearish on Russia’s prospects in the Ukraine war, whatever his views on U.S. policy there.
Al-Jubeir’s statements are clear, and even more so the statements of Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman. Al-Jubeir made his statements because the reaction that came from Washington was unusual in its escalation, taking the decision from realm of commerce to a matter of politics. President Biden sought – without justification – to link Saudi Arabia with Russia in his speech to his citizens, to avoid explaining the complexities of the impact of history and politics when the US midterm elections will be held next month. Abdullah Otaibi, Aawsat, 10.9.2022
Like so many US issues, fuel prices can be solved in America itself. But that would require the Democrats to swallow their pride, to be reasonable in negotiation with the other side of the House, and to put America first… something they have not yet proved they can do! Faisal Abbas, Arab News, 10.8.2022
Status & Sovereignty
The doctrine of Saudi diplomacy under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his Crown Prince, Prime Minister Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, has made it clear that the Kingdom’s interests are above all other considerations. Sovereignty must not only be seen, but exercised, without pressure or concessions. This requires the availability of strategic options in the hands of the Saudi leadership. Riyadh realizes that efforts such as stopping arms exports or imposing foreign trade terms are possible, and would not be surprising in any way. Therefore, the Saudi Arabia’s alternatives are fully prepared. Jamil Al-Dhiyabi [editor], Okaz, 10.10.2022
Amidst the beating of the drums of war in the world, and the fear of a nuclear war that would lead to the end of humanity (as described by US President Joe Biden) the truth is that the world is on the verge of a new form of the map of global powers. Perhaps there will be more restraint in the expansion of Western policy and its attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of countries, imposing policies and values that do not work for everyone. There is no doubt that the Kingdom has become an influential player in international politics, and plays a crucial and vital role in defining the features of this new world. Al-Riyadh editorial, 10.12.2022
If Biden has ordered the US National Security Council to conduct a reassessment of the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, this is a blatant signal that Saudi Arabia should also assess the relationship between the two countries. This is a legitimate right, as Saudi Arabia has [relationships with] global powers that enable it to conclude other security, military and economic agreements. Abdu Khal, Okaz, 10.12.2022
We know that the strategic interests between the Kingdom and America are stronger and deeper than the statement of any former, current or future president. They follow an institutional approach in the end, no matter how the president tries to impose his agenda… The same applies to President Biden’s statements now and in the future, especially with the approach of the midterm elections and difficult internal conditions. But the most important issue is for America to know that the Kingdom is no longer that secondary player in the international arena, politically and economically. Hamood Abu Taleb, Okaz, 10.12.2022
A fierce media campaign is being waged by the West against the Kingdom and the OPEC countries, led by the United States of America and in contradiction with all international political norms and protocols. Still, the ferociousness of this campaign at the Kingdom in particular made me personally happy, as it is an explicit recognition by the United States and Western countries of the importance and strength of [Saudi] influence at the international level. It is further evidence of the failure of the United States administration – led by President Biden – in managing international crises. Mohammad Mufti, Okaz, 10.14.2022