Are the Saudis looking for a new partner in the Middle East?

posted at 7:21 pm on August 28, 2013 by Bruce McQuain

If a Lebanese newspaper article is to be believed, they may indeed be shopping around.  Walter Russell Mead came upon this squib in As-Safir:

[Prince] Bandar [bin Sultan al-Saud] discussed the potential cooperation between the two countries if an understanding could be reached on a number of issues, especially Syria. He discussed at length the matter of oil and investment cooperation, saying, “Let us examine how to put together a unified Russian-Saudi strategy on the subject of oil. The aim is to agree on the price of oil and production quantities that keep the price stable in global oil markets. … We understand Russia’s great interest in the oil and gas present in the Mediterranean Sea from Israel to Cyprus through Lebanon and Syria. And we understand the importance of the Russian gas pipeline to Europe. We are not interested in competing with that. We can cooperate in this area as well as in the areas of establishing refineries and petrochemical industries. The kingdom can provide large multi-billion-dollar investments in various fields in the Russian market. What’s important is to conclude political understandings on a number of issues, particularly Syria and Iran….

The key to the relations between our two countries starts by understanding our approach to the Syrian issue. So you have to stop giving [the Syrian regime] political support, especially at the UN Security Council, as well as military and economic support. And we guarantee you that Russia’s interests in Syria and on the Mediterranean coast will not be affected one bit. In the future, Syria will be ruled by a moderate and democratic regime that will be directly sponsored by us and that will have an interest in understanding Russia’s interests and role in the region.”

Mead calls this “jaw dropping stuff” and assuming it all to be a faithful description of what went on, I can’t disagree. He also offers a reason for the meeting:

The Saudis have apparently judged President Obama to be rudderless in his Middle East policies, judging by their recent diplomatic moves toward Russia: They appear to have plied Putin with a deal to collude in the global oil market, while also urging him to distance himself from Syria’s Butcher Assad.

Ah, a smart diplomatic move. Engage the supporters of Syria and give them incentives not to support the regime. Why, it sounds like a well-considered attempt at foreign policy that any competent State Department might have tried.

What has the US administration done to bring Russia along?

The State Department on Monday postponed a meeting scheduled for Wednesday in The Hague between senior diplomats from the United States and Russia due to “ongoing consultations” over the chemical weapons attack in Syria.

The meeting was to have discussed plans for an international peace conference to end the civil war in Syria.

Right. I forgot.  I guess its time to “reset” again.

Look, it is clear from these sorts of reports that the US is considered to be weak and undependable by many in the region. Right now, the move toward attacking Syria has to be considered more of an emotional and political response than one that will in any way help solve the situation there.  While one may not be a huge fan of the Saudis, their overtures to Russia are certainly something that should signal the US that it has a pretty basic problem on their hands.  It’s an indicator, and not an indicator that reflects very well on this country.  Most importantly it points out how dismally poor our foreign policy is and has been in the region.  It is so poor that an important ally openly courts Russia and fears absolutely no backlash from us.  Additionally, they are engaged in the sort of diplomacy a world leader like the US should have been engaging in with Russia all along.  Instead we have an indecisive President drawing and re-drawing red lines while his State Department cancels meetings with an important player in the region.


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If this doesn’t get any traction, nothing will.

PO the Saudis and restrict domestic energy production.

This administration is certainly different.

cozmo on August 28, 2013 at 7:25 PM

Dance Partners…….

FlaMurph on August 28, 2013 at 7:26 PM

Lean Forward!

Man, this preznit of ours is a genius, a world-class bringer togetherer who can give a speech in Cairo and unite the mideast behind us in a path towards freedom, peace and democracy.

Bishop on August 28, 2013 at 7:27 PM

…Smart Power is in Office!

KOOLAID2 on August 28, 2013 at 7:27 PM

Obama is a novice in everything real. In what situation would someone would put their trust in Obama to take care of business? In what arena has Obama ever distinguished himself? Someone tell me.

Paul-Cincy on August 28, 2013 at 7:28 PM

There will be many repercussions resulting from the feckless foreign policy of this incompetent and naive President.

Friends / allies have to look to themselves / elsewhere because they cannot trust this President simply because he has proven himself to be weak and undependable.

Carter only had 4 years to have his naive and incompetent foreign policy (and team) create an environment that continues to vex this country three plus decades later.

In a far more volatile world, Barack Obama has 8 to reek even more damage – and continues to show no ability or willingness to admit his mistakes, change course, or learn from history.

Athos on August 28, 2013 at 7:28 PM

O’s mad at Russia over the gay-rights thing. So, you know, all else pales.

BKeyser on August 28, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Great, just frigging great. Put yourself in the Saudi shoes, why wouldn’t they talk to Russia? It would be insurance against the Iranians.

major dad on August 28, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Vacuum and Flexibility.

Bmore on August 28, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Years ago, when “we” first broke intel about A.Q. Khan and North Korea actively cooperating — several leading members of Congress and the then-Administration refused to believe that a godless country like North Korea would find friends in a religious country like Pakistan…took years to amass enough intel to show conclusively that A.Q. Khan, Benizir Bhutto and others were close friends with Kim Il-Sung and Kim Ching-il…and willing participants in the global nuke scheme.

Why?

Dislike of the United States as both nations saw the US as an obstacle to their goals. Simple as that.

Jump forward to today…

Why would the House of Saud join forces with the Russians, of all nations?

Easy.

Oil, natural gas, the global market.

Imagine a Moscow-Beijing-Riyadh cartel.

Imagine all of Europe throwing themselves at Moscow’s feet pleading, begging, for just another gallon of oil. Imagine East Asia selling their own children to make sure they had ample uninterrupted supplies. Imagine the House of Saud telling one nation after another that in exchange for the Saudis (and like-minded Islamic states) gratning them permission to purchase Saudi oil, they must first allow Wahabi Islam to find root, and then to make sure to adapt their laws as to not insult Islam.

Once this sort of thing happens, then imagine telling any and all who have opposed domestic fossil fuel production here in the Untied States for all these past years to drop to their knees and kiss your a**.

And then imagine them trying to come up with all sorts of excuses as to why it is better for us to be paying $36.00 a gallon for gas, barter for food, and have millions and millions destitute beyond our farthest ability to comprehend poverty.

In certain parts of the world, over the past few years, the United States has become increasingly irrelevant to the world.

Why?

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 7:36 PM

I think part of the reason for this new interest in pursuing an energy alliance with Russia is due to the recent statement by the Saudi royal that our pursuit of domestic energy, fracking included, is a threat to Saudi Arabia and the OPEC nations economies. The US may not need nearly so much foreign oil if we begin to actively produce and refine what we are capable of producing, and the world market would certainly suffer.

Interesting note: Norway was poised on the brink of electing a new conservative Prime Minister for the first time in 75 years. Norway has reason to be concerned with their income since they’ve been supporting their incredibly generous social services programs with the proceeds from their state run oil company. Now concerns are rising regarding what might happen to that income should the world become less dependent on oil, or their own production should falter. I think the timing of this concern is interesting, indeed, coming on the heels of the statement by the Saudi royal regarding our own domestic energy capacity.

As for Obama, he has ceded this nations reputation and dominance in the world though his own arrogance, hubris, ineptitude and incompetence. He has succeeded brilliantly, however, in making sure that Jimmy Carter is now regarded as the SECOND worst president in US history.

thatsafactjack on August 28, 2013 at 7:36 PM

There will be many repercussions resulting from the feckless foreign policy of this incompetent and naive President.

Athos on August 28, 2013 at 7:28 PM

.
You may need to review the “Oblunder Apology Tours I and II”……. to refresh your memory on what the real end game is for the Country Club Marxist.
And what it is – is designed to be NOT in the best interest of the good ol’ arrogant U.S. of A.

FlaMurph on August 28, 2013 at 7:36 PM

Does that mean Saudi terrorists will now target Moscow?

Flange on August 28, 2013 at 7:37 PM

This guy is just slightly less competent than Wile E. Coyote.

trigon on August 28, 2013 at 7:40 PM

It’s an indicator Team SCOAMT loves. After all, the most-visible part of any Soviet-Saudi (no, I didn’t misspell Russia) alliance is going to be a massive hike in the price of hydrocarbons.

It also solves the problem (at least in the eyes of Team SCOAMT) of pushing away one of the last of the Bush-era allies while not appearing to insult the home of Islam.

Steve Eggleston on August 28, 2013 at 7:40 PM

Does that mean Saudi terrorists will now target Moscow?

Flange on August 28, 2013 at 7:37 PM

The last I checked, the Chechens were funded by Saudi money.

Steve Eggleston on August 28, 2013 at 7:40 PM

This guy is just slightly less competent than Wile E. Coyote.

trigon on August 28, 2013 at 7:40 PM

Bah, compared to zero, Wile E. really is a genius.

The coyote caught the roadrunner once. 0bama has yet to do anything right.

cozmo on August 28, 2013 at 7:42 PM

Obama, the Muslim Brotherhood whisperer…

albill on August 28, 2013 at 7:43 PM

Well, if you hated your country for perceived past misdeeds and wanted to weaken it abroad, then the plan is working perfectly.

rbj on August 28, 2013 at 7:43 PM

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 7:36 PM

I believe you just described Team SCOAMT’s dream (or as sane people see it, the ultimate nightmare).

Steve Eggleston on August 28, 2013 at 7:45 PM

Leadership really does matter. Electing the Black guy President with the same feel-good PC lack of care in electing the first Black high school home coming king really does have consequences, even for the cool kids.

Mason on August 28, 2013 at 7:46 PM

Great, just frigging great. Put yourself in the Saudi shoes, why wouldn’t they talk to Russia? It would be insurance against the Iranians.

major dad on August 28, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Would that be the Sovie…er…Russian-armed Iranians?

Steve Eggleston on August 28, 2013 at 7:46 PM

The last I checked, the Chechens were funded by Saudi money.

Steve Eggleston on August 28, 2013 at 7:40 PM

Oh great! More domestic bombings at sporting events by lone wolves. Rolling Stone has just so many covers to give out to terrorists. They may have to start a “terrorist of the week” segment on Al Jazeera America.

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Oh great! More domestic bombings at sporting events by lone wolves. Rolling Stone has just so many covers to give out to terrorists. They may have to start a “terrorist of the week” segment on Al Jazeera America.

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 7:47 PM

What, and steal that segment from PMSDNC?

Steve Eggleston on August 28, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Does that mean Saudi terrorists will now target Moscow?
Flange on August 28, 2013 at 7:37 PM

As-Safir said Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base
in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord. “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” he allegedly said.

Akzed on August 28, 2013 at 7:50 PM

In what arena has Obama ever distinguished himself? Someone tell me.

Paul-Cincy on August 28, 2013 at 7:28 PM

He is the most accomplished liar of our time.

The Rogue Tomato on August 28, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Did CapitalistHog get the boot?

John the Libertarian on August 28, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Leadership really does matter. Electing the Black guy President with the same feel-good PC lack of care in electing the first Black high school home coming king really does have consequences, even for the cool kids.

Mason on August 28, 2013 at 7:46 PM

Yeah, the real issue here is that color of skin trumped content of character. I think that America was ready for a black President in 2008 but instead of furthering the candidacy of a competent, able, honest black politician- the Demonrats went with the guy who had an interesting backstory. Put another way we really didn’t have to elect the stupid, lazy, dishonest street thug had the Dems done even the amount of vetting on the thin-skinned rat that they did on where Scooter Libby’s dog was when somebody noticed that Valarie Plame was in the CIA (despite the fact she listed her employer on her facebook page).

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 7:51 PM

What, and steal that segment from PMSDNC?

Steve Eggleston on August 28, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Hey, let’s be honest here. Is America really a big enough market for two pro-terrorist/anti-America networks?

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 7:53 PM

O’s mad at Russia over the gay-rights thing. So, you know, all else pales.

BKeyser on August 28, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Yep. He does make his preferences known both here and abroad.

Can’t wait to see a “world leader” crawl out of the “closet”.

Will taxpayers have to pay for his sex change? He’s turning out to be an expensive gal.

Cody1991 on August 28, 2013 at 7:55 PM

He is the most accomplished liar of our time.

The Rogue Tomato on August 28, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Only if “our time” began on January 20, 2001. S(l)ick Willie will take exception if you took his 20th-century title away from him.

Steve Eggleston on August 28, 2013 at 7:55 PM

Hey, let’s be honest here. Is America really a big enough market for two three pro-terrorist/anti-America networks?

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 7:53 PM

ReWrite™ mandated by CNN.

Steve Eggleston on August 28, 2013 at 7:56 PM

Great, just frigging great. Put yourself in the Saudi shoes, why wouldn’t they talk to Russia? It would be insurance against the Iranians.

major dad on August 28, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Yep. Israel as well. They should both be talking to China too.

slickwillie2001 on August 28, 2013 at 7:57 PM

Akzed on August 28, 2013 at 7:50 PM

As a lifetime student with a keen interest in Bismark and Metternich and Kissinger…I love to see Realpolitik when it moves from theory into practice.

It works.

Maybe somebody should tell our Yale-educated SecState and our professional diplomats.

Lord knows, nobody at the White House understands the concept…ain’t no Skittles and unicorns in Realpolitik. Can’t get there with promises of more Obamaphones and recorded speeches on CD, either.

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 7:59 PM

Yep. Israel as well. They should both be talking to China too.

slickwillie2001 on August 28, 2013 at 7:57 PM

If I were Israel, I wouldn’t trust the Soviets, especially since there’s a massive gas field off the Israeli coast, and one of the things the Saudis have been dangling out there is a cornering of the hydrocarbon market. They have been doing some deals with the ChiComs already.

Steve Eggleston on August 28, 2013 at 8:00 PM

As for Obama, he has ceded this nations reputation and dominance in the world though his own arrogance, hubris, ineptitude and incompetence. He has succeeded brilliantly, however, in making sure that Jimmy Carter is now regarded as the SECOND worst president in US history.

thatsafactjack on August 28, 2013 at 7:36 PM

Never to forget, please, please, that he’s doing all this with malice and on purpose. In the execution of his Utpian pipedream he’s been very competent and successful.

All other about the oil is so true and has such consequences…but only if the development in the US and fracking would continue and be approved…

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 8:04 PM

ReWrite™ mandated by CNN.

Steve Eggleston on August 28, 2013 at 7:56 PM

Well, if you are going to include the grand doyennes of the terrorist network genre, it is really four. The PBS/NPR syndicate has to be included as well.

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 8:05 PM

In the future, Syria will be ruled by a moderate and democratic regime that will be directly sponsored by us and that will have an interest in understanding Russia’s interests and role in the region.

Sorry, but the great man has this one totally wrong. It will be ruled, like Egypt was, by a gaggle of wild ones.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Well, if you are going to include the grand doyennes of the terrorist network genre, it is really four. The PBS/NPR syndicate has to be included as well.

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 8:05 PM

I thought we were sticking with cable nets and not extending to government-run broadcasting. Besides, PBS uses BBC as its newsroom.

Steve Eggleston on August 28, 2013 at 8:06 PM

In certain parts of the world, over the past few years, the United States has become increasingly irrelevant to the world.

Why?

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 7:36 PM

Obama and smart power.
The man is a doofus and I can’t believe everyone can’t see this and admit it.

Mimzey on August 28, 2013 at 8:06 PM

John the Libertarian on August 28, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Yes.

thatsafactjack on August 28, 2013 at 8:07 PM

This s/b internalized by all.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 8:08 PM

Did CapitalistHog get the boot?

John the Libertarian on August 28, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Yes.

thatsafactjack on August 28, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Who’s got the celebratory bacon?

Steve Eggleston on August 28, 2013 at 8:08 PM

Did CapitalistHog get the boot?

John the Libertarian on August 28, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Did CapitalistHog get the boot?

John the Libertarian on August 28, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Yes.

thatsafactjack on August 28, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Do tell.

Spill it jack!

Yeah, I know its jackie, but jack sounded better.

cozmo on August 28, 2013 at 8:10 PM

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 7:59 PM

Realpolitik- now there’s a word I would love to have show up on the thin-skinned rat’s teleprompter some day. It would stun him into silence. And somebody would be fired for not dumbing it down enough for the boss.

George Bush once impressed me when he not only mentioned an OODA loop at a presser but went on to say enough he at least knew what the theory behind it was. With this administration we don’t have that depth of ability, competence, and interest. Unless, of course, it has to do with welcoming championship teams to the White House, hosting parties, golfing, or vacations. Then those rat ears are all attention.

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 8:11 PM

cozmo on August 28, 2013 at 8:10 PM

See Del’s detective work.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Just read it. Kind of a let down, but I’ll take it.

cozmo on August 28, 2013 at 8:13 PM

Ed apparently just wrote e-mails to CurtZHP and indirectly to Bmore about it…apparently, after banning him, again.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 8:13 PM

Now if they’d do something about the two perverts in the “Confessed child rapist gets 30 days in jail” thread.

cozmo on August 28, 2013 at 8:14 PM

Well, one too many “apparently”s :(

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 8:04 PM

I haven’t forgotten, my friend, never fear. :)

However, I believe that Obama has made some errors that weren’t intentional. Like being overheard on that live mic telling Medvedev to tell Putin that he’s be ‘more flexible’ after the election. Like Snowden making it all the way to Moscow and Obama being unable to persuade Putin to give him back… this enabling Putin to use Snowden as the tool to thoroughly humiliate Obama. Both of these also served to lessen the standing of the United States in the eyes of the world, yet Obama made these errors ( at east errors from his point of view) through incompetence and rank stupidity.These are but two examples of Obama’s incompetence, indolence, and ineptitude. There are, of course, others that might serve equally well.

Perhaps in my effort to be brief in my post, I was less concise than I might have been.

thatsafactjack on August 28, 2013 at 8:16 PM

cozmo on August 28, 2013 at 8:14 PM

We need more decent trolls…I know that’s a dichotomy.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 8:17 PM

thatsafactjack on August 28, 2013 at 8:16 PM

Indeed on all, and never to worry. I typed that not so much for you, but for some on ‘our’ side who simply write him off as just an incompetent oxygen consumer. He is way more.

Of course, he’s also the product of racial preferences and it shows in myriad ways. How many brilliant men pay so much to hide their graddes?…is my favorite, among many.

Plus, we have the Obamateurism collection. I wish we’d still have one, at least every Sat or Sun. Need to bug Ed, again :)

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 8:20 PM

graddes = grades, alas :)

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 8:21 PM

‘See’ you night-owls later. Time to exercise muscles for a change.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 8:23 PM

One more thing.

I wish the US sheepleton would revolt too against this insane war or whatever the heck it will be.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 8:30 PM

In certain parts of the world, over the past few years, the United States has become increasingly irrelevant to the world.

Why?

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 7:36 PM

Good post cw. We’ve done little for many reasons. Often it’s simply arrogance. We could do a lot to relieve ourselves of much international responsibility (yes, gasp!!) by definitively going for our own natural resources.

An alliance between the ME, Russia and China makes sense. I’d be glad to let them fight it out. I understand that our potential withdrawal is complicated, but let us not forget that every time we rattle about developing our reserves OPEC whines. Withdrawal is not necessarily a sign of defeat. It’s power to spit in their eyes and say, ‘We don’t need you.’ And, of course, the great thing about inclusive capitalism is that many of our worst enemies will not want to see us flounder or pull away.

Let Russia take on the mess that originates from the Saudis. They love stomping on jihadis. They can take on China. Anyone who takes a look at the maps and reads the history understands that this is what they claim. There is nothing that the Russians would love more than to establish their once, great empire.

The wars we are fighting are economic, and………. with a smart administration and Congress we can not only hold our own – we can win.

Smart administration? Smart Congress? That’s a challenge. We need to get busy – for Americans. The rest will fall into place, but only if WE insist on unleashing our natural resources.

Cody1991 on August 28, 2013 at 8:33 PM

This guy is just slightly less competent than Wile E. Coyote.

trigon on August 28, 2013 at 7:40 PM

Yes. At least Wile E. Coyote had a plan.

Obama didn’t even think to order the “Acme Foreign Policy Kit.”

BRunner on August 28, 2013 at 8:38 PM

Elect an incompetent Chicago pol, get an incompetent Chicago pol.

Who knew?

GarandFan on August 28, 2013 at 8:40 PM

I’m curious to know if the president has boffed our relationships with so many countries in such a relatively short time all on his own, or has he made bad decisions based on what his advisers have been telling him. Is he incompetent or a dullard?

scalleywag on August 28, 2013 at 8:40 PM

Folks just stop the stupid analysis… The Saudis know that no matter what the only super power in this world is the US even if we have a very weak and incompetent leader on the top… They are not going to ally themselves with a paper tiger like Russia… The Saudis are not stupid…

mnjg on August 28, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Nice way to provoke an attack on Israel. Throw a few missiles into Syria thinking the only nation to get payback will be Israel.

Hey..but he’s the first black President. It doesn’t matter how deep of a pit he drags the world down into.. he’s the first black president and by gum we need to support him.

It would be interesting to see if Obama could even point to Syria on a map.

JellyToast on August 28, 2013 at 8:42 PM

They better watch it or they’ll have to answer to John Effing Kerry.

claudius on August 28, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Hmmmm…..Russia supplies most of the natural gas to eastern and central Europe if I’m not mistaken. The Saudis don’t like us fracking and developing other oil reserves (think tar sands in Canada). The REB is making sure that the DOE is dragging their feet in issuing export permissions for natural gas to domestic producers, and is killing developing those resources on federal land, the gulf and our seaboards. I can see where the Saudis and the Russians can think they could put a lock on energy prices world wide. And our wunnerful preznit will hand them the keys.

lfwest on August 28, 2013 at 9:04 PM

Folks just stop the stupid analysis… The Saudis know that no matter what the only super power in this world is the US even if we have a very weak and incompetent leader on the top… They are not going to ally themselves with a paper tiger like Russia… The Saudis are not stupid…

mnjg on August 28, 2013 at 8:42 PM

You’re right. They know what our reserves are. They know what their investments in the US are, and they LOVE the status quo. They understand what we have invested in their country.

Have you ever noticed what happens to the price of crude when there is a discussion about the US developing our reserves? Probably not because it happens rarely. It drops. And the Saudis whine and complain.

I can see why the Saudis are threatening to align themselves with Russia. It’s political. It’s about money. Frankly, as long as we continue to develop our own reserves I don’t care who they want to suck up to. Russia is, indeed a poor choice, but in terms of threatening the US it’s useful. As I mentioned in my earlier post Russian may have no problems stomping on their jihadis. I have no problem with that.

The US is a super power for many reasons. We are blessed with exceedingly abundant resources and brilliant people. We understand what independence means.

We fought a war to achieve independence from the Brits. It’s time to again gain independence and quietly use what God has given to this great nation.

Independence is our inheritance.

Cody1991 on August 28, 2013 at 9:09 PM

Obama didn’t even think to order the “Acme Foreign Policy Kit.”

BRunner on August 28, 2013 at 8:38 PM

I thought that was where the Hillary attachment came from.

Happy Nomad on August 28, 2013 at 9:21 PM

O’s mad at Russia over the gay-rights thing. So, you know, all else pales.

BKeyser on August 28, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Right. Priorities.

David Blue on August 28, 2013 at 9:50 PM

The Saudi’s courting the Russian (or visa versa) means both have concluded the Republicans will be irrelevant for years to come. Mr O is to be gone in 3 years (I wonder) yet this major political alignment has to be based on more than Mr O’s incompetence.

mike3121 on August 28, 2013 at 9:52 PM

All the Gulf states do this dance every few years. They are always courting US rivals because they think it means they will get better terms from the US. You can look at the released State Dept. docs if you want proof that this has happened under every US leader since Kennedy first made inroads in the region and there was quite a haggle over that too.

The other thing that is not new is OPEC courting Russia. Hard to manage an oil cartel effectively when one of the big players is out on its own.

lexhamfox on August 28, 2013 at 10:04 PM

Lean Bend Forward!

Man, this preznit of ours is a genius, a world-class bringer togetherer who can give a speech in Cairo and unite the mideast behind us in a path towards freedom, peace and democracy.

Bishop on August 28, 2013 at 7:27 PM

jimver on August 28, 2013 at 10:10 PM

cozmo on August 28, 2013 at 8:14 PM

We need more decent trolls…I know that’s a dichotomy.

Schadenfreude on August 28, 2013 at 8:17 PM

More like an oxymoron :)

jimver on August 28, 2013 at 10:13 PM

As for Obama, he has ceded this nations reputation and dominance in the world though his own arrogance, hubris, ineptitude and incompetence. He has succeeded brilliantly, however, in making sure that Jimmy Carter is now regarded as the SECOND worst president in US history.

thatsafactjack on August 28, 2013 at 7:36 PM

Sorry – I have to quibble about the historical accuracy of this statement. President James Buchanan (15th President of the United States) was the President who preceeded Lincoln. In the time between Lincoln’s election victory and his inaguration, Buchanan sat and did nothing, like a beached jellyfish, while the southern states seceeded one by one. By the time Lincoln was inagurated, seven states had already seceeded (and were actively seizing federal military property within their boundaries). This, of course, led to the cataclysmic Civil War that followed.

So, unless President Obama manages to ignite a civil war that kills a million Americans, he can not be considered the Worst President.

Second worst. Carter is now only third from the bottom.

SubmarineDoc on August 28, 2013 at 10:55 PM

Both Russia and China have a singular weakness that will haunt them in their relations in the Middle East. Neither country has a grain surplus to use in trade.

They are all always going to be looking to the US…

Russia also has Oil, but no food. China has neither.

trigon on August 28, 2013 at 11:20 PM

Russia also has Oil, but no food. China has neither.

trigon on August 28, 2013 at 11:20 PM

I believe Russia is now a major exporter of food.

sharrukin on August 28, 2013 at 11:37 PM

In the future, Syria will be ruled by a moderate and democratic regime that will be directly sponsored by us and that will have an interest in understanding Russia’s interests and role in the region.”

So Saudi Arabia is guaranteeing Russia that what replaces Assad in Syria will be a “moderate and democratic regime that will be directly sponsored by us”?

LOL.

What does “sponsored by us” mean?

Why would SA “sponsor” a “democratic regime”, something the Saudi regime is not. And why would Russia care about that?

Sounds like SA is trying to buy off Putin to get him to stop supporting Assad. And by proxy Iran. Iran is what SA is really worried about. I doubt they give a crap about Syria except that it is semi-allied with Iran. Whatever “regime” replaces Assad won’t be. Iran is the immediate threat to SA. An Islamist Syria would be a future threat to SA and possibly a present ally against Iran.

The Saudis will worry about the Islamists running Syria turning on them if/when it happens farther on down the road. At the moment Sunni Islamists consider the US to be their primary international enemy. The Saudi regime comes later. That was bin Laden’s strategy — take care of the US and all of the regimes the US backs in the ME will come toppling down.

Oh, and if the Saudis can get Russia to cooperate more in controlling the world’s oil supply, so much the better.

farsighted on August 28, 2013 at 11:46 PM

Are the Saudis looking for a new partner in the Middle East?

Wouldn’t you be?

`

Naturally, the Saudis understand they only have to wait another three and 1/2 years, and a new President will be in place. However, there is some chance a Democrat will manage to win again – after all, Obama was elected without the slightest qualification in ’08 and reelected with the worst performance in office in the postwar era in ’12, so how do they know we won’t be just as stupid in ’16?

Smart money hedges its bets.

Adjoran on August 28, 2013 at 11:54 PM

I believe Russia is now a major exporter of food.

sharrukin on August 28, 2013 at 11:37 PM

Wheat, about half what we can export. Corn, less then 10%. Soybeans, they don’t really count at all.

trigon on August 29, 2013 at 12:23 AM

They’re finally learning what the Vietnamese learned in 1975.

The United States is a faithless friend and a toothless enemy.

schmuck281 on August 29, 2013 at 12:57 AM

Give the guy a break. O’Bozo’s got his hands full waging war against the rural hicks and bitter clingers in this country. He can’t be bothered with international affairs.

Besides, we have these things called aircraft carriers.

Kill off the F22 and F35, but full speed ahead on the Drone programs.

Nukes? Who needs ‘em. Let those other countries figure out how to kill off their own rednecks.

And we can’t use ‘em here. Who’ll grow the arugula?

WryTrvllr on August 29, 2013 at 3:41 AM

Its simply the US’s allie Saudi Arabia going to bat for the common cause: Destroy Syria & instate a Shariah oriented regime. The end goal is probably to attack Shi’a Iran. As if this will promote “democracy” bring stability to the ME.

For the last 12 months Russia has been the only thing stopping the US from attacking Assad on the trumped up pretext of using chamical weapons. The Saudis are attempting to buy off Russia so the Saudi/Qatar/Jordan/USA /UK/Fance alliance can get the show back on the road.

A lot rests on getting this done and enough time has been wasted. The Ikhwan have played the Hudna card in Egypt and as soon as Syria is subjugated and its minorities decimated the sooner the Muj in Syria can go into Egypt and do the same thing to it.

Liam1304 on August 29, 2013 at 5:16 AM

As a lifetime student with a keen interest in Bismark and Metternich and Kissinger…I love to see Realpolitik when it moves from theory into practice.

It works.

Maybe somebody should tell our Yale-educated SecState and our professional diplomats.

Lord knows, nobody at the White House understands the concept…ain’t no Skittles and unicorns in Realpolitik. Can’t get there with promises of more Obamaphones and recorded speeches on CD, either.

coldwarrior on August 28, 2013 at 7:59 PM

Machiavelli is not a dirty word. Unless you’re sitting across the table from him.

Akzed on August 29, 2013 at 5:52 AM

Obama has somehow managed to damage relationships with Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Libya, the rest of the ME, Russia, Eastern Europe, UK, Australia, Latin America and even Canada.

All while destroying our economy. Brilliant!

jpmn on August 29, 2013 at 6:50 AM

Wish we had a Reset Button for Obama. Reset him back to Community Organizer in Chicago!

Herb on August 29, 2013 at 10:08 AM

The Saudis are looking for another “partner” in the Middle-East?

I think the US of A should be looking for a new partner in the Middle-East – coming from an understanding that the Saudis are the bankroll behind flooding the United States with radical Wahhabist, or primitive islam mosques, that are bound to be at the heart of future internal strife.

We sure know how to pick our friends.

dockywocky on August 29, 2013 at 1:56 PM