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Biden Driving Saudis into China’s Arms

Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2022
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by Daniel Berman
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AMAC Exclusive – By Daniel Berman

Biden
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Chinese President Xi Jinping

“Don’t get angry, get even.” That seems to be the philosophy driving Xi Jinping following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan earlier this month as the Chinese President is expected to make his first international trip since COVID-19 to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the coming days. While the details have not been finalized, the news highlights both how the Middle East may play a key role in any future conflict over Taiwan and how much Biden has lost the trust of former U.S. allies.

Ahmed al-Faraj, a Saudi Professor of International Affairs, told the Jerusalem Post that the visit “will be a clear message that Saudi Arabia has strategic allies other than the United States of America and that it is a strong country that cannot be overcome in the Middle East.” The visit is expected to see, among other things, an agreement on allowing China to purchase Saudi oil in Yuan rather than Dollars and an agreement on arms sales and joint-investment projects. The most important signal will be to the United States

Notably, the visit does not mark a definitive defection of Saudi Arabia from the American to any sort of Chinese camp. Saudi Arabia retains close military ties with the United States, with the Biden administration recently approving more than $3 billion in additional arms sales. Saudi Arabia also remains a foe of Iran, which has tried to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

But the visit is nonetheless a signal from Riyadh that the United States remains under “probation,” so to speak, at least as long as Joe Biden remains president. The Saudis have not forgotten Biden’s refusal to speak with them or threats to block arms sales, nor his continued efforts to woo Iran into a nuclear deal on terms even less favorable than those agreed to by Barack Obama. Biden’s visit, in its awkwardness—especially when it came to confrontations over human rights and the death of rogue Saudi intelligence asset turned Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi—was a far cry from the ceremony of Donald Trump’s trip in 2017, or that expected for Xi’s.

Trump, for one thing, was received by the King, as Xi is expected to be. Biden was denied such a meeting. It is no coincidence that Saudi Arabia made a point of inviting Xi to visit the Kingdom in March, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, during a period when the Biden administration was threatening to isolate China if it did not break relations with Moscow, and simultaneously threatening the Saudis to do the same while begging them to increase energy production and pave the way for Biden’s own trip. Given that Biden called the Saudi Crown prince a “murderer” to his face, it is easy to see why Riyadh would adopt Reagan’s old adage of “trust, but verify” regarding relations with Washington.

What of China? A few weeks ago, I observed that the nature of China’s challenge to U.S. hegemony is often misunderstood and more akin to that of a scavenger rather than a predator. China has generally shied away from direct confrontation with the West, never explicitly opposing U.S. policy towards Iran, Syria, or North Korea. In the case of Afghanistan, the Chinese Communist Party did not move to establish ties with the Taliban until the U.S. had already departed.

Reaching out to Saudi Arabia at a time when U.S.-Saudi relations are poor is therefore exactly in keeping with the Chinese approach. China did not trigger Saudi-American tensions, but once they became evident, Beijing moved in to see how it could profit, either economically through ties with Riyadh or by subtraction through undermining U.S. energy security and therefore U.S. strength in Asia.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States would play a pivotal role in any conflict between Beijing and Washington over Taiwan, a much greater one than any of the parties played over Ukraine. When it came to Ukraine, the Middle East functioned as a potential alternative source of energy to replace Russian gas. When it comes to East Asia, however, neither China nor America’s allies in the region, including Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, are themselves energy independent. They are instead largely dependent on energy supplies shipped from the Gulf, many of which pass through the narrow straits of Malacca. Almost any U.S. strategy for a conflict with China would involve trying to cut Beijing off from such energy exports. But as with Europe, where European states had fewer alternative energy suppliers than Russia had customers, China can secure at least some energy from Russia, whereas Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Southeast Asia would be almost entirely out of luck.

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PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

Saudi Arabia, just like any other country on earth, is concerned with which allies are best capable of protecting Saudi interests around the world. Virtually every foreign country previously aligned with the United States is reconsidering their options since the Biden administration was installed in power. Looking at the dismal performance of the Biden administration since Day One, it is quite clear a United States under the control of socialist Democrats is NOT an country anyone can depend on to protect one’s strategic, long-term interests. Every other partner we have in Middle East is re-evaluating their options.

That view is re-enforced by the insistance of the Biden administration to continue to pursue, with reckless abandon, a deal with Iran that essentially do nothing to preclude Iran from developing nuclear weapons, while also handing Iran billions upon billions of dollars with which to fund their terrorist activities in the Middle East and around the world.

China is always looking to take advantage of any foreign policy blunders the United States or its allies make, so they of course will be quick to seize the opportunity to make a strategic alignment with Saudi Arabia or any other Middle Eastern country that can offer valuable energy resources China will need for expansion in the 21st century. It would also allow China to gain an even greater strangle hold over the West, by the potential threat down the road to limit the West’s access to Middle Eastern oil now that the United States has surrendered its energy independence to OPEC.

This is what you get when you allow a dementia patient, who was never that smart to begin with beforehand, to play at being POTUS. All while the real people running the country (Ron Klain and Susan Rice) are busy trying to resurrect the one lone foreign policy achievement, the Iran Nuclear Deal, of their former and still boss Obama. As long as the American people are content to allow this farce to continue, you can expect many, many more bad developments to impact the United States. Sheep usually end up being eaten by one predator or another.

Willie'sWillys
Willie'sWillys
1 year ago

He doesn’t get to take credit for that. The Saudis were already dealing powers in opposition to the U.S. It’s called business.

Laura Germani
Laura Germani
1 year ago

We wouldn’t be in a mess with anyone if we had remained energy-independent. This administration is making the U.S. look really weak and stupid. We know, as well as most other countries, that Biden can not be trusted.

Philip Seth Hammersley
Philip Seth Hammersley
1 year ago

Normal leaders respect STRENGTH! Senile Joe has neither mental strength nor moral strength. Who would want to work with him? He’d sell them out in a minute if it advanced his left-wing agenda!

Michael N.
Michael N.
1 year ago

Anybody with any common sense knows that Joe Biden and his socialist swamp has trigged this whole situation before Russia vs Ukraine war.!

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 year ago

Opportunist always grabs the chance where he sees it

Rich
Rich
1 year ago

Too bad…but…Biden OWES China. So, he doesn’t see why it’s such a big deal. One day WE might need to learn Chinese.

Robin Walter Boyd
Robin Walter Boyd
1 year ago

Having a far Left fascist regime team up with a far Right fascist regime cannot be good for the U.S. or any free nations of the world. My guess is that they are working out how to divide the world between the two of them.

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