Why Trump can't quit the Saudis

A big reason for President Trump’s accommodating stance toward Saudi rulers in the apparent killing of Jamal Khashoggi is rooted in a simple dynamic: Trump needs them.

The big picture: Rice University energy scholar Jim Krane has a helpful Forbes commentary on the “crude realpolitik” behind Trump’s openness to the kingdom’s denials of responsibility. It stems from the president’s need for more Saudi barrels on the market to offset the effects of his Iran sanctions.

“[T]he decision to soft-pedal the Saudis plays well with the Trump administration’s worldview, where international norms mean little; even less when cheap Election Day gasoline is on the line,” writes Krane.