U.S.-Saudi Relations: From Fist-Bumps to Fisticuffs?

U.S.-Saudi Relations: From Fist-Bumps to Fisticuffs?

Gas prices are up six percent in the past month, and $4.00 per gallon is about to make an unwelcome return. As The New York Times wrote last week, President Biden’s “fist-bump diplomacy” with Saudi Arabia has failed.

The Saudis joined with the rest of OPEC+ in slashing oil production by two million barrels per day, sending prices soaring. And the longtime American ally has been getting close with Russian President Vladimir Putin even as he becomes more of a pariah and as missiles rain down on Ukraine.

U.S. officials warned Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman that a production cut would be interpreted as a sign of support for Putin, but he ignored them. Now, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez is calling for a halt to all U.S. weapons sales to the Saudis — some $100 billion in sales — and for the Biden administration to “immediately freeze all aspects” of cooperation with them.

A diplomatic conflict with Saudi Arabia would have it costs. About seven percent of U.S. oil imports come from Saudi Arabia, behind only Canada and Mexico and ahead of all other OPEC nations.

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