The American Interest
Policy, Politics & Culture
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The Saudi Summit Why Obama Won’t Give (or Get) Much in Saudi Arabia

President Obama will have his hands full in Riyadh later this week working with the Saudis in light of recent policy differences. Unlike Lehman Brothers, however, the U.S.-Saudi relationship really is too big to fail.

Published on March 25, 2014
As President Obama heads off to Riyadh this week—the last stop, on Friday, of a Europe-heavy itinerary—he should be a happy guy. Unlike his relationship with Vladimir Putin (or Lehman Brothers), the U.S.-Saudi relationship really is too big to fail.  Key linkages—billions in recent U.S. weapons sales, counter-terrorism cooperation, and all that oil—will keep Riyadh and Washington together for some time to come, whether each side, deep down, really likes it or not. At the same time, he should be worried, too. Conflicting interests and views concerning Egypt, Syria, Iran and Palestine have created big rifts in the relationship. Unless...