Scoop: Biden gets squeezed on potential MBS meeting

WaPo’s David Ignatius reported this week that Biden will sit down with Saudi Crown Prince MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN during a trip to the region later in June. When White House press secretary KARINE JEAN-PIERRE was asked about this on Wednesday, she was careful to neither confirm nor deny the report: “There’s really no discussion to have, because I don’t have a visit to even talk through at this time,” she said. (AP, notably, confirmed the Ignatius report this morning.)

The White House’s thinking here is pretty straightforward. The president has a gargantuan domestic political liability — high gas prices — that Saudi Arabia is in a position to help with. Combine that with the international political realities — MBS is young and will likely lead the kingdom for decades, the West needs new sources of oil given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Saudi Arabia’s role as a regional power — and you have the makings of a rapprochement.

But even as the calculation is understandable, there are obvious moral costs to wooing MBS. There’s the matter of the murder of WaPo journalist JAMAL KHASHOGGI in 2018 — which came at the crown prince’s behest, and for which he has avoided any real responsibility. There’s a litany of other human rights abuses, ranging from torture to jailing dissidents to laws permitting the execution of people for the crime of being gay. And then there is the role that Saudi nationals played in planning and executing the 9/11 attacks.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Video