The Bankruptcy of Biden's 'Back to Basics' Approach in the Middle East
The Biden administration’s “back to basics” approach continues to take the U.S. in the wrong direction towards closer ties with its bad regional clients
CNN reports that a face-to-face meeting between the president and the Saudi crown prince appears to be in the works:
President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, could meet for the first time as soon as next month, multiple sources told CNN. A meeting would come after months of diplomatic heavy lifting and represent a turnabout for a US president who once declared Saudi Arabia a "pariah" with "no redeeming social value."
Biden’s approach to Saudi Arabia has been uninspiring, to say the least, and it was probably just a matter of time before the president dropped his objections to meeting directly with the crown prince. That doesn’t make a meeting with Mohammed bin Salman any more advisable or useful, but it does confirm that the Biden administration’s “back to basics” approach continues to take the U.S. in the wrong direction towards closer ties with its bad regional clients. In principle, there is nothing wrong with a president meeting with the de facto leader of another state if it serves some purpose and advances U.S. interests, but in this case I can’t see any value in putting the president in the same room with the crown prince. It would be one thing if the “back to basics” approach were delivering tangible results. If that were the case, one could at least argue that the U.S. was getting something in exchange for its sordid arrangements with regional governments, but the U.S. gets nothing except more demands from insatiable clients.