Opinion The Saudi snub of Biden is a disaster. Democrats must respond.

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
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By Greg Sargent
Columnist |
October 6, 2022 at 1:20 p.m. EDT






Republicans are surely excited about the news that a group of oil-producing countries led by Saudi Arabia and Russia will slash oil production by 2 million barrels per day. In addition to threatening the global economy, it also could mean the specter of higher energy prices heading into the midterm elections, bolstering GOP attacks at a time when their potency has faded.


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Democrats need to respond, not just for their own good but for the good of the country. This is an opportunity to clarify some murky complications in our politics about what the parties stand for — and show that our energy future and even the fate of the Western alliance backing Ukraine are deeply entangled in these midterms.
Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), a vulnerable swing-district incumbent, is introducing a bill designed to increase pressure on OPEC and its allies to reverse the move. The bill would require the removal of U.S. troops and missile defense systems from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.






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This legislation is basically a vehicle for Democrats (and Republicans, if they so choose) to urge Biden to show that there will be consequences for harming U.S. interests. “At the end of the day, the power is in the president’s hands,” Malinowski told me. “He should begin withdrawing some of these assets.”

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“No more pleading and cajoling,” he continued. “Just take an action. Make it clear … that the Saudis can’t take us for granted the way that they have been for so many years.”
Biden has invested a great deal in “cajoling” the Saudis, but it obviously failed; the widely criticized fist bump with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman looks even worse in retrospect. The questions now are how widely Democrats will demand consequences and whether Biden will respond.

The key nuance here is that Biden as commander in chief doesn’t need this bill to begin withdrawing military. But Malinowski says that if Democrats widely endorse the idea, it could send a strong signal to Biden and Saudi Arabia alike.


“We’re signaling to the president that he should play this card, and that there would be congressional support for doing so,” said Malinowski, who introduced the bill with Reps. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) and Susan Wild (D-Pa.).
There are other options for Democrats. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) is calling for reforms to antitrust legislation that would strip OPEC and its allies of immunity to U.S. lawsuits, an idea that has bipartisan support.

“Democrats and Republicans alike should recognize the need for a coordinated and forceful response from Congress,” Spanberger told me in a statement. Spanberger added that the oil producing countries have sided with Russia “over the United States,” meaning that higher energy prices could strain European countries and weaken the pro-Ukraine alliance.
All this has the potential to produce a clarifying moment, in three ways. First, consider the role of the Republican Party.


In an act of meaningful trolling, Malinowski notes that his bill to pull the U.S. military presence mirrors a measure congressional Republicans pushed in 2020 to help President Donald Trump increase pressure on Saudi Arabia to cut production.

At the time, the situation was reversed — Trump wanted production slashed to boost then-collapsing oil prices to help his reelection. And the pressure paid off in a large oil production cut.
Now, however, it seems unlikely that Republicans would join in pressuring Saudi Arabia to refrain from cutting production, since cuts now could boost energy prices, helping the GOP. That Malinowski’s bill is similar to the 2020 GOP bill is designed to highlight the absurdity of this.
Second, this whole affair highlights the interests Saudi Arabia and Russia might have in seeing a GOP-controlled Congress, as well as that outcome’s geopolitical fallout. Even just a GOP House could slow our transition to green energy and potentially defund U.S. aid to Ukraine at a moment when the Russian invasion is in serious trouble.



Asked whether he believes that the move to cut oil production is designed to help Republicans win Congress, Malinowski allowed that the crown prince and Russia “share an interest in changing American politics in their favor.”
“Whether it’s energy policy or support for human rights around the world or support for Ukraine, there’s a commonality of interests there,” Malinowski told me.
Finally, this could clarify the costs of our entanglement with the Saudis — and do so in a way that unites Democrats. Progressives such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have long pushed for a rethinking of U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia. Now we’re seeing some very forceful noises along these lines from more centrist Democrats:

Matt Duss, a foreign policy adviser to Sanders, points out that such a rethinking could also bolster the Democratic Party’s efforts to align itself firmly on the side of democracy and against autocracy, a goal pretty much all Democrats share.
“If we’re serious about strengthening democracy against authoritarianism, this would be a good moment to seriously reassess the United States’ long-standing relationship with one of the worst authoritarian governments in the world,” Duss told me.
That is something Democrats of all kinds should be able to get behind.

 

Aardvark86

HR All-American
Jan 23, 2018
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I thought the president did respond when he said that no one ****s with a biden.

Seriously though, this is a silly position. Throwing even greater uncertainty and disruption into long term geopolitical alliances for the purpose of suppressing oil prices for short term political gain makes about as much sense as a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin' it on.

As for justifying this based on Ukraine, well, that die has sorta been cast, and the stabilization of global oil prices isn't going to save putin.
 
Last edited:

Fijimn

HR Legend
May 7, 2008
12,084
19,870
113
I thought the president did respond when he said that no one ****s with a biden.

Seriously though, this is a silly position. Throwing even greater uncertainty and disruption into long term geopolitical alliances for the purpose of suppressing oil prices for short term political gain makes about as much sense as a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin' it on.
Biden could make Saudi settle the 9/11 case....
 

Thunderlips71

HR All-American
Oct 29, 2014
3,861
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The only realistic lever is drill baby drill to make up for their production cuts.
We are currently exporting oil from the United States - why not reinstate the prohibition on oil exports and keep it all for ourselves?

Some of us want to keep on fracking until we’ve polluted our aquifers so big oil can sell our resources to foreign countries for massive profits.
 

binsfeldcyhawk2

HR Legend
Gold Member
Oct 13, 2006
27,638
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We are currently exporting oil from the United States - why not reinstate the prohibition on oil exports and keep it all for ourselves?

Some of us want to keep on fracking until we’ve polluted our aquifers so big oil can sell our resources to foreign countries for massive profits.
Because that would shove oil prices sky high and basically put the world economy into recession?

 

Rifler

HR Legend
Jan 26, 2011
25,796
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In what way?

Privately you make it clear to both MBS and the Saudi government that you know exactly what happened, that you in no uncertain terms disapprove of the action , and that if these type of activities continue it will become impossible to maintain a working relationship between the two countries. Publicly you then condemn the incident without specifically linking MBS and then you proclaim continued support for a long lasting US Saudi relationship,... Result MBS under Joe's thumb.
 

Jerome Silberman

HR Legend
Oct 30, 2009
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Privately you make it clear to both MBS and the Saudi government that you know exactly what happened, that you in no uncertain terms disapprove of the action , and that if these type of activities continue it will become impossible to maintain a working relationship between the two countries. Publicly you then condemn the incident without specifically linking MBS and then you proclaim continued support for a long lasting US Saudi relationship,... Result MBS under Joe's thumb.
Are you saying this would be in response to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi?
 

SiouxCityHawkFan

HR All-American
Apr 24, 2003
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I get what this politician wants to do, but why go through all this political BS when we can just tap our own basically unlimited oil reserves? No one does it cleaner or safer than the US due to safety and environmental regulations. Also use those resources to keep high paying jobs in America and help Europe with their needs. Then you hurt the Saudis where they care most, monetarily.
 
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BioHawk

HR Legend
Sep 21, 2005
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China will be happy to fill the gap we leave. Hell, we even have bases for them to occupy. If we were to pull out I hope we demolish all the buildings and runways so when the Chinese move in they can spend their own money fixing them (not that they will any issues with that).

Honestly, I'm kind of at the point where I'm ok with this. It's not like we are getting much return on the investment of having troops there now anyway.
 

Fijimn

HR Legend
May 7, 2008
12,084
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I get what this politician wants to do, but why go through all this political BS when we can just tap our own basically unlimited oil reserves? No one does it cleaner or safer than the US due to safety and environmental regulations. Also use those resources to keep high paying jobs in America and help Europe with their needs. Then you hurt the Saudis where they care most, monetarily.
Are you familiar with the number of barrels that the US produces in a day vs. the number of barrels we consume?
 

Fijimn

HR Legend
May 7, 2008
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Prices are also set on a world market, unless we nationalize production, we’d still be shipping oil to whoever paid the most.
True. But that is not what the poster was saying. Several nationalist/protectionists on this board want to keep domestic oil production domestic believing that will solve the problems of the market being affected by the OPEC cartel slashing production. They are conflating "energy independence" with "oil independence"
 

Fijimn

HR Legend
May 7, 2008
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Are you saying we don't have the natural resources or capabilities to produce our own energy?
THe delta between domestic production of crude and domestic consumption of crude is about 6 million barrels. If you take all sources of energy (oil, NG, nuclear, solar and wind) we can be theoretically energy independent. That doesn’t mean we could cut off importation of crude because the infrastructure is not there to utilize all sources of energy across all areas of the us. It is also not petroleum independence. Because there is a wide variety of non-energy products made with crude.
 
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SiouxCityHawkFan

HR All-American
Apr 24, 2003
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THe delta between domestic production of crude and domestic consumption of crude is about 6 million barrels. If you take all sources of energy (oil, NG, nuclear, solar and wind) we can be theoretically energy independent. That doesn’t mean we could cut off importation of crude because the infrastructure is not there to utilize all sources of energy across all areas of the us. It is also not petroleum independence. Because there is a wide variety of non-energy products made with crude.
So you don't think increasing oil production domestically can affect prices globally?
 
Nov 28, 2010
80,079
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Maryland
Because that would shove oil prices sky high and basically put the world economy into recession?

No reason curtailing US energy exports would raise US prices.

Naturally our fossil energy companies would try to raise prices, but since production costs won't have changed, any increases will just be rapacious profit-taking.

Caps on prices and profits will stop that nonsense.

But don't worry cons and polluters, we won't do any of that. The Senators from Exxon and Halliburton, etc., will never vote for any of that. In any choice between profits and doing what's right, profits always come first.
 
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kc78

HR All-American
Nov 25, 2002
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Pensacola, FL
By Greg Sargent
Columnist |
October 6, 2022 at 1:20 p.m. EDT






Republicans are surely excited about the news that a group of oil-producing countries led by Saudi Arabia and Russia will slash oil production by 2 million barrels per day. In addition to threatening the global economy, it also could mean the specter of higher energy prices heading into the midterm elections, bolstering GOP attacks at a time when their potency has faded.


Sign up for a weekly roundup of thought-provoking ideas and debates

Democrats need to respond, not just for their own good but for the good of the country. This is an opportunity to clarify some murky complications in our politics about what the parties stand for — and show that our energy future and even the fate of the Western alliance backing Ukraine are deeply entangled in these midterms.
Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), a vulnerable swing-district incumbent, is introducing a bill designed to increase pressure on OPEC and its allies to reverse the move. The bill would require the removal of U.S. troops and missile defense systems from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.






ADVERTISING


This legislation is basically a vehicle for Democrats (and Republicans, if they so choose) to urge Biden to show that there will be consequences for harming U.S. interests. “At the end of the day, the power is in the president’s hands,” Malinowski told me. “He should begin withdrawing some of these assets.”

Follow Greg Sargent's opinionsFollow

“No more pleading and cajoling,” he continued. “Just take an action. Make it clear … that the Saudis can’t take us for granted the way that they have been for so many years.”
Biden has invested a great deal in “cajoling” the Saudis, but it obviously failed; the widely criticized fist bump with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman looks even worse in retrospect. The questions now are how widely Democrats will demand consequences and whether Biden will respond.

The key nuance here is that Biden as commander in chief doesn’t need this bill to begin withdrawing military. But Malinowski says that if Democrats widely endorse the idea, it could send a strong signal to Biden and Saudi Arabia alike.


“We’re signaling to the president that he should play this card, and that there would be congressional support for doing so,” said Malinowski, who introduced the bill with Reps. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) and Susan Wild (D-Pa.).
There are other options for Democrats. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) is calling for reforms to antitrust legislation that would strip OPEC and its allies of immunity to U.S. lawsuits, an idea that has bipartisan support.

“Democrats and Republicans alike should recognize the need for a coordinated and forceful response from Congress,” Spanberger told me in a statement. Spanberger added that the oil producing countries have sided with Russia “over the United States,” meaning that higher energy prices could strain European countries and weaken the pro-Ukraine alliance.
All this has the potential to produce a clarifying moment, in three ways. First, consider the role of the Republican Party.


In an act of meaningful trolling, Malinowski notes that his bill to pull the U.S. military presence mirrors a measure congressional Republicans pushed in 2020 to help President Donald Trump increase pressure on Saudi Arabia to cut production.

At the time, the situation was reversed — Trump wanted production slashed to boost then-collapsing oil prices to help his reelection. And the pressure paid off in a large oil production cut.
Now, however, it seems unlikely that Republicans would join in pressuring Saudi Arabia to refrain from cutting production, since cuts now could boost energy prices, helping the GOP. That Malinowski’s bill is similar to the 2020 GOP bill is designed to highlight the absurdity of this.
Second, this whole affair highlights the interests Saudi Arabia and Russia might have in seeing a GOP-controlled Congress, as well as that outcome’s geopolitical fallout. Even just a GOP House could slow our transition to green energy and potentially defund U.S. aid to Ukraine at a moment when the Russian invasion is in serious trouble.



Asked whether he believes that the move to cut oil production is designed to help Republicans win Congress, Malinowski allowed that the crown prince and Russia “share an interest in changing American politics in their favor.”
“Whether it’s energy policy or support for human rights around the world or support for Ukraine, there’s a commonality of interests there,” Malinowski told me.
Finally, this could clarify the costs of our entanglement with the Saudis — and do so in a way that unites Democrats. Progressives such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have long pushed for a rethinking of U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia. Now we’re seeing some very forceful noises along these lines from more centrist Democrats:

Matt Duss, a foreign policy adviser to Sanders, points out that such a rethinking could also bolster the Democratic Party’s efforts to align itself firmly on the side of democracy and against autocracy, a goal pretty much all Democrats share.
“If we’re serious about strengthening democracy against authoritarianism, this would be a good moment to seriously reassess the United States’ long-standing relationship with one of the worst authoritarian governments in the world,” Duss told me.
That is something Democrats of all kinds should be able to get behind.

I know it's not popular with Democrats but it's time for America to realize that we have to become a leader in oil drilling and production and both sides need to accept this. It does need to be a stop gap measure for the next 20-30 years, but it's an essential one. We can't keep having our and our allies oil supply held hostage by a group of hostile actors. At the same time we need to be massively investing in alternative energies because oil isn't going to last forever.
 

hawkland14

HR Heisman
Gold Member
Feb 26, 2013
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I know it's not popular with Democrats but it's time for America to realize that we have to become a leader in oil drilling and production and both sides need to accept this. It does need to be a stop gap measure for the next 20-30 years, but it's an essential one. We can't keep having our and our allies oil supply held hostage by a group of hostile actors. At the same time we need to be massively investing in alternative energies because oil isn't going to last forever.
This is the best post in the entire thread.
 

tarheelbybirth

HR King
Apr 17, 2003
68,858
53,983
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Privately you make it clear to both MBS and the Saudi government that you know exactly what happened, that you in no uncertain terms disapprove of the action , and that if these type of activities continue it will become impossible to maintain a working relationship between the two countries. Publicly you then condemn the incident without specifically linking MBS and then you proclaim continued support for a long lasting US Saudi relationship,... Result MBS under Joe's thumb.
How - exactly - does that place SA "under Joe's thumb"? The Saudis have made it clear that they would prefer a GOP controlled US govt. Why would Biden...I don't even know what to call your plan - threatening them?...change that?
 
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tarheelbybirth

HR King
Apr 17, 2003
68,858
53,983
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I know it's not popular with Democrats but it's time for America to realize that we have to become a leader in oil drilling and production and both sides need to accept this. It does need to be a stop gap measure for the next 20-30 years, but it's an essential one. We can't keep having our and our allies oil supply held hostage by a group of hostile actors. At the same time we need to be massively investing in alternative energies because oil isn't going to last forever.
So...nationalize US oil interests? How else do you compel private companies to drill when they have decided it's not in their best interests? They have leases in hand right now on something like 25 million acres of land and they're already producing more petroleum, crude oil, and natural gas than anyone else in the world.
 

Rifler

HR Legend
Jan 26, 2011
25,796
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How - exactly - does that place SA "under Joe's thumb"? The Saudis have made it clear that they would prefer a GOP controlled US govt. Why would Biden...I don't even know what to call your plan - threatening them?...change that?

To placate his base Biden chose to cut Saudi Arabia off and publicly out them as international pariahs,... What did he get out of this?, absolutely nothing.,.. And more to the point his actions pushed MBS into becoming a personal enemy, of Biden for sure, but perhaps the US in general,.. Biden would have been better off to threaten the stick, but not employ it,.. Had he done this MBS might be more inclined to be working with Biden now.