We should make sure that the U.S. is never again in a position where it is expected to support another Saudi war.
Perhaps to stabilize oil markets, we could allow Iran to have skin in the game and drop our sanctions and sign a JCPOA. It’s a basic Bastiat kind of argument. Iran would then have every incentive to keep things peaceful in the Gulf and we would t be dependent on the Saudis.
The alternative is that the US remains the Enforcer of sanctions and is mired in neutralizing Iranian reprisals against Israeli attacks and attempts to spread the economic pain of sanctions around to everyone else.
So the authors are offering unpalatable solutions to problems of our own making.
So the idea is that if we demand nothing and offer only benefits at no cost to the Saudis, the Saudis will, noblesse oblige, somehow mystically transmogrify themselves into a sort of mild mannered social democracy.
Now, pretend that someone were to propose a similar approach vis-a-vis Russia. How would Cook and Indyk and the entire foreign policy establishment react?
Reading between the lines, what Cook and Indyk are really arguing for is asking Biden to abase himself and grovel something as follows: "Please Mister MbS please we'll do anything but pump more oil lots more oil please don't let the wheels fall off the bus please more oil please your sandals taste just like an ice cream cone kill anyone you want but please more oil please!"
Hmmm. Council on Foreign Relations. I wonder how much oil money it gets.