Following a series of missteps in his direct relations with Saudi Arabia since taking office, President Joe Biden was targeted by the kingdom this week via a statement indicating that his administration sought a month-long delay on a much-publicized decision to cut oil production – one that would keep the bad news for American consumers from coming before the all-important midterm elections.
As CNBC reports, the Saudis did not heed Biden's request, instead announcing that production would be slashed upwards of 2 million barrels daily, beginning in November, something which will have the effect of tightening supply and increasing prices when Americans are already struggling with skyrocketing inflation.
In its Wednesday statement, Saudi leaders explained their reasoning, saying, “The Government of the Kingdom clarified through its continuous consultation with the U.S. administration that all economic analyses indicate that postponing the OPEC+ decision for a month, according to what has” been suggested, would have had negative economic consequences.”
“The Kingdom stresses that while it strives to preserve the strength of its relations with all friendly countries, it affirms its rejection of any dictates, actions, or efforts to distort its noble objectives to protect the global economy from oil market volatility. Resolving economic challenges requires the establishment of a non-politicized constructive dialogue, and to wisely and rationally consider what serves the interests of all countries,” the statement added.
The communication came as a seeming rebuke to Biden, who just one day prior appeared to threaten action against the kingdom if oil production was cut, telling CNN's Jake Tapper, “There's going to be some consequences for what they've done, with Russia. I'm not going to get into what I'd consider and what I have in mind. But there will be – there will be consequences,”
Even before the Saudis made the assertion that Biden attempted to negotiate a mitigation of the likely harm the production cut would do to his party's prospects in November, typically friendly voices at the Washington Post were declaring the president's maneuvers with regard to the kingdom a failure.
The Post editorial board on Saturday held little back in its assessment of the almost certain fallout from the production cut, as Fox News noted, saying that its occurrence represents “troubling evidence of how badly Mr. Biden's efforts earlier this year to mend fences with the de facto Saudi ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have failed.”
Biden's unsuccessful machinations with the Saudis have also not escaped the notice of those who cannot help but compare his conduct to the claims over which former President Donald Trump was impeached in 2019, namely that he attempted to engage in a quid pro quo arrangement with Ukraine in order to bolster his domestic political fortunes.
Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, for instance, wondered during an appearance with Fox News' Jesse Watters this week whether the Democrats who were so eager to impeach Trump for supposedly doing the same type of thing Biden has just been caught doing are now poised to go after the current commander in chief, but comically – and aptly – mused, “Oops – except it's their candidate, it's their party. That's the problem.”