Sunday, July 17, 2022

Biden and The Crown Prince - World History in the Making


Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD 

We have all had to do it at one time or another, that awful moment when we must go to somebody we have openly criticized, and they know it, and ask them for a favor.

It is happening at the highest level of the US government this weekend as President Biden ventures to Saudi Arabia and a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Back in the days of the presidential campaign, like many politicians, Biden would become the victim of unfortunate political rhetoric. Biden made a vow during his election campaign to make Saudi Arabia a pariah, and once he was elected; he refused to speak with the Crown Prince, attempting to punish him with isolation.

President Biden approached this moment with few cards in his hand. The U S economy is in fitful shape, as we all know, inflation the highest, it's been in 40 years in the past month, gasoline prices through the roof, and now he needs the Crown Princes’ help in increasing the oil supply in hopes that increased supply will drive down gasoline prices at the pump and in turn create some turnaround in the inflationary upward spiral.

It was very difficult to see how this could go well. The Crown Prince enjoys his position on the world stage as a power player and with vast amounts of wealth and influence over the world oil markets, it would seem the Crown Prince may be in the driver’s seat.

Biden likes to negotiate. But a true negotiation involves something you have that the other party wants, and something that the other party has that you would like to have or accomplish. It is unclear at this point that there is little, if anything, the Crown Prince, and Saudi Arabia need from the United States.

Perhaps the Crown Prince would like a very embarrassing Biden apology for his comments and positions both before, and after he was elected president but that will leave an already weakened Biden literally coming back to the United States with his tail between his legs.

Biden's old-school approach of negotiate and compromise simply does not work in today's world order and global economy. As calls continue to rise for Biden not to run for president in 2024, a political embarrassment with Saudi Arabia would most likely seal his fate.

I'm writing this as the conversations between the Crown Prince, and the president are just beginning, and it's extremely difficult to know how all this may finally end up. One thing is certain. It is unlikely that President Biden has a significantly deep understanding of all that motivates the Saudi government and the people in control.

They live in a world entirely different than ours with an old world look but a new world view. A world view that has developed over decades of manipulating the major global source of energy for political power purposes.

As president of the most powerful nation in the world, you would think that President Biden would be on an equal or even greater footing than the Crown Prince.

The fact is, he is not. With our economy sagging, the moral culture of our population eroding, inflation running rampant, and more and more regimes around the world willing to stand up to the United States, Biden appears in this most difficult moment at one of the most critical times in our country's history as the weaker of the two adversaries.

How well President Biden does or does not do in this verbal confrontation with the Crown Prince may well shift the global political power structure.

If Biden does not hold his own with the Crown Prince, he may very well return to the United States as a lame duck president.

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