Apr. 20, 2016
- The U.S. and Saudi Arabia No Longer See Anything the Same Way – Ray Takeyh
These days, when the U.S. and Saudi Arabia look at the region, they see two completely different landscapes. As President Obama traveled to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, the latest developments in the Iran nuclear deal are not anything the Tehran-phobic Saudis want to talk about. Obama has expressed a vague desire that Iran and Saudi Arabia should “share the neighborhood” without saying how he hopes that will be accomplished.
There has always been something incongruous about an alliance between a liberal democracy and a traditional monarchy relying on austere Islam and petrodollars to sustain itself. As the U.S. grows more energy independent and Saudi oil becomes less relevant, the lure of petroleum is increasingly not enough to sustain an alliance always built on a shaky foundation.
Changing the occupant of the White House early next year will not substantially alter America’s policies. Obama reflects a mood of disenchantment with the Middle East within the Democratic party, while Republican front-runners denounce expansive visions for transforming the political culture of the Middle East and implanting democratic regimes in the heart of the Arab world. U.S. politicians on both sides are tired of expending precious resources to stabilize a region coming undone. The writer, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, was senior advisor on Iran at the U.S. State Department. (Politico)