I asked one knowledgeable business executive whether this tells us MBS is crazy or stupid. “Hmm,” came the answer. “Maybe both.”
Heedless leaders are bad enough in troubled byways such as Libya or Sudan. But to have one at the controls in Saudi Arabia is intolerable. This is arguably the United States’ strongest ally in the Muslim Middle East, and has been since President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his blessing to Saud. The kingdom serves as a critical counterweight to Iran’s ambitions, and a reasonable custodian of the most sacred sites of Islam.
Set aside the oil — thanks to the fracking and efficiency revolutions, we don’t need it like we used to. The most precious resource the Saudis can offer today is stability in the heart of the world’s tinderbox.