The U.S. government is pissed off because Saudi Arabia supported cutting oil production in OPEC+. Now Washington is threatening to freeze relations with Saudi Arabia.
I just reported on the geopolitical consequences that the Saudi-backed OPEC+ reduction of oil production by two million barrels per day has triggered. To avoid repeating everything, you can read the details and reasons here.
Now the U.S. is apparently responding to the Saudis' "presumption" of wanting to pursue their own policy and end 50 years of cooperation with the U.S. in manipulating oil prices in the U.S. political interest. Here I summarize some of the recent news.
The angry reactions in the U.S.
John Kirby, White House Security Council communications director, said of relations with Saudi Arabia on CNN:
"The president has made it clear that we need to continue to reassess this relationship, we need to review it, particularly in light of the OPEC decision"
U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez went even further, calling for a "freeze" on cooperation with the key Middle East ally, effective immediately. On Monday, the Democratic senator said:
"The United States must immediately freeze all aspects of our cooperation with Saudi Arabia. Including all arms sales and security cooperation beyond what is absolutely necessary to defend U.S. personnel and interests."
He went on to speak of Saudi Arabia's "gift" to Moscow and a "terrible" decision by OPEC+ that only helps to support "Russian President Vladimir Putin's war." As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he therefore said he would not give the green light to cooperation with Saudi Arabia until the kingdom reconsiders its position on the war in Ukraine. He said:
"Enough is enough."
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal on Tuesday introduced a bill he drafted that would suspend Washington's arms sales to Saudi Arabia for a year after Riyadh decided to cut OPEC+ oil production. He stated:
"Saudi Arabia must reverse the decision to cut oil production, which aids and abets the brutal and criminal Russian invasion, endangers the global economy, and risks rising gasoline prices in the United States. (...) This simple and urgent action will halt U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia after it made the deeply offensive and destructive mistake of siding with Russia at this historic moment"
What this means for the EU
These threats incidentally show that the U.S. is not a reliable trading partner, as Saudi Arabia is probably the largest buyer of American arms and has been a partner of the U.S. for 50 years. Suspending these arms shipments for a year would be a breach of contract. Not that I would be sad to see fewer arms supplied, but the example shows that the U.S. uses economic issues against any country that becomes politically disobedient to them.
This leads to an interesting question: the EU under Commission President von der Leyen just wants to make Europe dependent on American liquefied natural gas. What would happen if that were to happen and the EU were to disagree with the U.S. on some issue? Correct: Then the lights go out in Europe.
Has that happened even once - despite all the crises of the last 50 years - with gas supplies from Russia? No. But that doesn't stop von der Leyen (and her Green comrades-in-arms in Berlin) from making the EU definitively and revocably a total hostage to U.S. policy.