Pariah pilgrimage: Biden to beg Saudis for more oil in person

Remember when Joe Biden ripped Donald Trump for doing nothing about the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and promised to treat Saudi Arabia as a “pariah state”? The Washington Post certainly does:


Since then, Biden and his party are getting clobbered by higher gas prices produced by the policies Biden put in place. Higher gas prices were an intended effect of those policies as a way to force Americans to make Biden’s “incredible transition” away from fossil fuels, another pledge that Biden made on the campaign trail in 2020. Biden and his progressive allies want gasoline to be so expensive as to make alternative energy sources more economically competitive, even if they can’t produce at high enough scale to meet energy demands.

Well, that transition has turned out to be far more “incredible” than Biden expected. It’s so “incredible,” in fact, that Biden will make a pilgrimage to the country that he wanted to make a “pariah state” to beg Mohammed bin Salman for more oil:

President Biden is planning to visit Saudi Arabia later this month, a remarkable departure from his vow as a presidential candidate to treat the country as a “pariah” state, according to three administration officials who requested anonymity to share details of a trip not yet announced.

The president’s trip to Riyadh follows broader efforts by his administration to build ties with the oil-rich nation to reduce the price of gas in the United States, which has skyrocketed in recent months. …

The relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia ruptured after the 2018 killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and outspoken critic of the Saudi government. American intelligence has concluded that Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince and de facto leader, ordered the killing of Khashoggi.

“We were going to in fact make them pay the price, and make them in fact the pariah that they are,” Biden said of Saudi Arabia during a Democratic debate in 2019.

He added there is “very little social redeeming value in the present government in Saudi Arabia.”


This isn’t even a case of “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia too, but that was in May 2017, before the murder of Khashoggi. That trip drew criticism anyway, such as an accusation from Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum that it was a “bizarre, unseemly, unethical and un-American” choice for Trump’s first overseas trip as president:

Before he moves on to Israel and then to Europe, before we are consumed by the next scandal and forget, here is a list, for the record, of just a few of the ways in which President Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia was bizarre, unseemly, unethical and un-American.

It was a very strange choice for a first trip abroad. The past four American presidents, two Republicans and two Democrats, made their first trips to either Mexico and Canada, countries that are close trading partners, close allies, compatible democracies and of course neighbors. Trump chose, instead, to make his first presidential visit to an oligarchic kleptocracy which forces women to hide their faces and forbids them to travel without a male guardian’s permission.

This was part of the “pariah state” argument from Biden, but mostly that came from (justified) media outrage over the brutal murder of Khashoggi. Biden had no trouble pandering to that outrage in 2019, when it was cheap and easy to do so. Now, however, Biden needs cheaper oil badly, and so does his political party, whose policies have transformed Saudi Arabia from a pariah state to a patronage state.


So now Biden’s paying the price rather than the Saudis. Why? Because Biden imposed policies that stripped the US of its strategic advantage in oil markets. His policies directly forced the US to court not just Saudi Arabia but truly vile regimes in Venezuela and Iran to produce the oil we need there while Biden refuses to ease restrictions that would allow Americans to produce and refine it here — where Americans would reap the full benefits of it.

Instead, Biden will go on a pariah pilgrimage that will accentuate his own “bizarre, unseemly, unethical and un-American” energy policies. And who knows? By this time next year, Biden might even bend the knee in Caracas and Tehran.

By the way, Biden’s progressive pals at Common Dreams are none too happy about his travel plans either. Their take is headlined “Sucking Up to Murderers,” and quotes a Bernie Sanders advisor about the trip’s implications:

According to the Washington Post, for which Khashoggi worked as a columnist, Biden administration officials have come to view a presidential visit to Saudi Arabia “as a necessary act of realpolitik to lower energy prices and inflation, despite a campaign promise to further isolate Riyadh.”

Matt Duss, a foreign policy adviser to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was among those criticizing the planned visit as egregiously hypocritical, flying directly in the face of Biden’s rhetoric on the campaign trail and since taking office.

“If anyone can explain to me how this reflects the administration’s previously stated commitment to ‘a world in which human rights are protected, their defenders are celebrated, and those who commit human rights abuses are held accountable,’ I’d love to hear it,” said Duss.

Bill McKibben, an environmentalist and co-founder of, tweeted that he “can’t wait for the day when the world can stop sucking up to murderers simply because they have oil.”


Maybe we should use our own oil to avoid that, eh?

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