Wednesday, September 20, 2023

No defense treaty with Saudi Arabia

 Biden's presidency has been much better than I expected (admittedly I had low expectations and supported him almost entirely because he wasn't Trump), but this is a phenomenally bad idea.
Why the fuck would Biden want to agree to a mutual defense treaty like the US-South Korea or US-Japan defense treaty? Even though the treaty would be worded as a two-way street (that's what "mutual defense") means, the reality is that if the US was facing a serious threat KSA has little it can bring to the table to defend America whereas the US can do a lot to defend the KSA. So really it would just be an open ended commitment to risk American lives to defend a wealthy absolute dictatorship with a horrible human rights record and which, by law, treats women and religious minorities like complete shit. This is the same regime that murdered an American resident with a bone saw and Biden himself vowed to make a pariah during his presidential campaign. Meanwhile, even as Biden is trying to give the Saudis a big kiss, the Saudi government is working hard to make inflation rise in the U.S. so Biden loses the presidency next year.

I realize that Biden really wants an Israel-KSA peace treaty on his watch, but such a treaty would be more about symbolism than substance. The fact is that Saudi Arabia and Israel have been quietly cooperating and in an informal cooperative agreement for almost a decade. This would be just making official something that has already been happening, and will continue to happen even if they don't have a formal peace agreement. In other words, Biden would be paying a high price (endless American commitment to defend Saudi Arabia) for little actual gain. Is this just about getting a Mideast peace agreement because Trump did?

What is Biden said that he would agree to defend Saudi Arabia so long as the price of oil was less than $80/barrel? I wouldn't like that either, but at least it would have some concrete benefit for the U.S.