Biden flip-flops on US ties with Saudi Arabia, earning contempt
During Donald Trump’s presidency, the Democrats devolved from being a political opposition to deranged compulsive contrarians.
Whatever stand Trump took, they had to take the opposite. This wasn't about principles, it was petty, personal, petulant and childish.
If Trump had found a cure for cancer, the Democrats would have condemned him for causing harm to the healthcare industry and rendering minorities unemployed.
From the start of his presidency, Trump had cultivated ties with Saudi Arabia and its leaders such as the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman. Trump made the Kingdom one of the key players in his Middle East policy. Trump managed to somewhat normalize relations between some Islamic Middle Eastern countries and Israel.
Trump also worked with OPEC whose de-facto leader is Saudi Arabia, to manage oil production and keep pricing reasonable.
Simultaneously Trump encouraged and boosted oil production within the US to make it among the leading energy exporters. Thanks to the fracking boom, oil production increased from about 5 million barrels a day in the mid-2000s to more than 13 million barrels a day under Trump. Trump broke the almost 75 years of continued US dependence on foreign oil.
In the midst of a pandemic, Trump pulled off another energy coup: He convinced the Saudis and the Russians to voluntarily cut production, at least for a short while. The US energy industry supports more than 10 million U.S. jobs, including lots of highly paid, blue-collar workers. Lockdowns imposed in the name of the coronavirus pandemic would have reduced oil demand, resulting in US workers either being furloughed or terminated if the Saudis’ and Russians continued existing levels of oil production.
Under Trump, the US and Saudi Arabia signed a weapons deal worth nearly $110 billion in 2017 and $350 billion over 10 years. This was a remarkable achievement and a boon for American businesses. It was in keeping with Trump's 'America First' pledge.
The Democrats clearly didn't approve of this and had to find a way to scupper these deals.
In October 2018, the CIA alleged that crown prince bin Salman had ordered the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Bin Salman denied any role in the murder.
But Democrats saw this as their opportunity. They pressured Trump to condemn the Saudis. Many Democrat leaders in the legislative branch demanded that Trump sever US-Saudi ties.
When Trump refused to dance to their tune, the Democrats accused Trump of being soft on authoritarian leaders. They even attempted to fuel a whisper campaign that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and Prince bin Salman were parties to some nefarious and shady business dealings.
While ‘campaigning’, Joe Biden vowed to punish Saudi Arabia and make them a pariah for the US over the Khashoggi murder. The Biden administration said that “human rights will be the center of our foreign policy” and went on record that Khashoggi was murdered at the prince’s direction.
It was expected that Biden would lead the world in their campaign to ostracize Saudi Arabia.
But times had changed. Under Biden the US is no longer an exporter of oil.
How did Biden manage that?
Firstly, Biden and the Democrats support various ‘green’ policies that place impediments on oil extraction and refinement.
Secondly, Biden halted oil and gas leasing on federal lands and placed restrictions on fracking, which was a significant source of oil extraction.
Thirdly, Biden revoked permission for the construction of the 1,200-mile Keystone XL Pipeline that was supported by Trump. The pipeline would have moved up to 830,000 barrels or 35 million gallons of crude on a daily basis, connecting in Nebraska to other pipelines that feed oil refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Biden severed business ties with Russia following the conflict in Ukraine; hence OPEC is the only choice left for Biden.
Biden could no longer afford to make the Saudis a pariah.
In July, Biden traveled to Saudi Arabia to meet Crown Prince bin Salman and OPEC leaders and urge them to increase the production of oil to combat rising gas prices. In a bid to be cordial, Biden even shared a fist bump with Prince bin Salman. It looked awkward and desperate and drew ridicule.
The Wall Street Journal also revealed that desperate Biden administration officials urged Saudi Arabia to delay the OPEC+ vote to cut oil production until the group's next meeting in December — i.e., after the midterms. Biden’s handlers knew that high gas prices were on the mind of voters.
But the pleadings failed.
OPEC+ allies announced a massive cut to oil production by 2 million barrels per day, which caused a spike in the price of crude oil, and a further rise in U.S. gas prices is expected to follow.
This caused White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to allege that OPEC+ had "aligned their energy policy with Russia's war aims” Anybody that doesn't blindly side with the Democrats is always slammed as a Kremlin agent.
The Saudi authorities released a statement rejecting the Biden administration's claims and warned that "any attempts to distort the facts about the Kingdom's position regarding the crisis in Ukraine are unfortunate, and will not change the Kingdom's principled position."
How did Biden attempt to fix the mess?
Recently the Biden administration determined that Crown Prince, bin Salman, should be granted immunity in the murder case of Khashoggi filed by Khashoggi’s fiancée.
A court filing was made by Justice Department lawyers at the request of the State Department because bin Salman was recently made the Saudi prime minister and as a result, qualifies for immunity as a foreign head of government, the request said.
The Biden Administration declares immunity for Saudi Crown Prince MbS in the Khashoggi murder case in the US pic.twitter.com/vKZOtDwaAT— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) November 18, 2022
Amnesty International reacted with anger, saying the US government “should hang its head in shame. This is nothing more than a sickening, total, deep betrayal.”
Khashoggi’s fiancée was also gravely disappointed.
#Biden saved the murderer by granting immunity. He saved the criminal and got involved in the crime himself. Let's see who will save you in the hereafter? @POTUS https://t.co/TVFx4xSa3j— Hatice Cengiz خديجة (@mercan_resifi) November 18, 2022
Democrat mouthpieces such as The Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, Politico, and MSNBC slammed the Biden administration.
Even lawmaker Democrats were angered.
Since the midterms are over, they can afford to be a bit honest.
This is just another mess that Biden presided over.
When Biden was inaugurated, the D.C. experts had claimed that the adults were back in the room and there would be smooth sailing both nationally and internationally.
It has been a little less than two years, and the rebukes, insults, and open displays of contempt and hostility have been coming from all over
Months ago, Saudi State TV mocked Biden by running a satirical skit that depicted Biden’s cognitive decline and Vice President Harris desperately trying to manage him. It has to be remembered that every program that appears on Saudi State TV is approved by the rulers of the Kingdom.
But Biden cannot afford to be indignant or proud. He needs OPEC to produce oil and control the skyrocketing fuel prices. Hence Biden is doing his best to placate Crown Prince bin Salman, which includes granting him immunity and haplessly swallowing rebukes from OPEC and insults from the Saudis.
Photo credit: Twitter