Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • both this week, I want to look at a vital early test of Joe Biden's presidency.

  • Congratulations, Mr President.

  • It's been six weeks since Joe Biden became president, six weeks for him to begin the work of turning campaign promises into policy promises like this on Saudi Arabia.

  • President Trump has not punished senior Saudi leaders, would you?

  • Yes.

  • And I would make it very clear we were not going to in fact, sell more weapons to them.

  • We were going to in fact, make them pay the price and make them in fact, the pariah that they are.

  • That was on the campaign trail.

  • This is the Biden administration in power.

  • We are very focused on future conduct in.

  • That is part of why we have cast this not as a rupture, but a recalibration.

  • I want to look at how this complex bond between the U.

  • S.

  • And Saudi Arabia won't easily be broken regardless of who's in the White House and how a murder and a war are presenting this early test.

  • For the president, this is a story of a superpower and how the Saudis are part of its effort to stay that way.

  • At first glance.

  • America and Saudi Arabia have little in common ones.

  • A democracy.

  • One is an authoritarian monarchy.

  • Ones majority Christian.

  • One is Sunni Muslim.

  • One has freedom of speech, the other routinely jails activists, and their relationship is under constant pressure, in part because of a murder in 2018.

  • Mr Cash Algae was strangled shortly after he entered the Saudi consulate on the second of October.

  • Hood was placed over his head and his body was later dismembered.

  • Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi journalist and a U.

  • S resident.

  • In October 2018, he was in Istanbul.

  • In Turkey.

  • We see him entering the Saudi consulate.

  • Not long afterwards, he was killed and dismembered.

  • And U.

  • S intelligence believes this was approved by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

  • He's effectively the leader of Saudi Arabia, and he denies involvement in the killing.

  • This, though, was the conclusion the UN reached.

  • There is absolutely no doubt, no doubt under international human rights law, that the responsibility of the state of Saudi Arabia is involved.

  • It is involved in the killing.

  • It is involved in the lack of an effective investigation.

  • It is involved in the lack of an effective prosecution.

  • And if the Saudi state was involved, it would be unlikely that the crown prince wasn't well.

  • Shortly after the murder, the then president Donald Trump, was asked about this.

  • What are you considering?

  • For possible consequences for body based on those?

  • Well, it'll have to be very severe.

  • It's bad, bad stuff.

  • But the punishment wasn't severe.

  • In fact, very little was done.

  • Less than three weeks after the murder, the then US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, visited Riyadh.

  • And, as you can see, it was handshakes and smiles with Mohammed bin Salman that set the Trump approach.

  • The veteran reporter Bob Woodward later reported that Donald Trump said of the crown prince, I saved his ass.

  • I was able to get Congress to leave him alone.

  • I was able to get them to stop while Trump called that book fake news.

  • But there's no reason to doubt it.

  • And in any case it is true.

  • The U.

  • S.

  • Did leave Mohammed bin Salman alone.

  • Joe Biden promised to be different.

  • And this week the senior Democrat, Adam Schiff, has said that Biden administration should explore ways to ensure the repercussions for the brutal murder of Mr Kasogi to go beyond those who carried out to the one who ordered it.

  • The Crown Prince himself.

  • He has blood on his hands.

  • But what's actually happened this week is that first we have a report confirming that U S intelligence believed the crown prince approved the murder.

  • And second, we have confirmation that he won't be targeted.

  • My colleague Nick Bryant had the story as it developed while they've been, that's what they're calling a Kasogi ban which is targeting foreign nationals who they say have intimidated or harassed or assaulted dissidents and journalists.

  • They haven't imposed sanctions on Mohammed bin Salman.

  • The crown prince will go unpunished and that development has been fiercely criticised, Jamal Khashoggi wrote for The Washington Post and its publisher, Fred Ryan, has written.

  • It appears as though under the Biden administration, despots who offer momentarily strategic value to the US might be given a one free murder pass.

  • We've also heard from JaMarcus Aggies fiance, who put out a statement saying, If the Crown prince is not punished, it will forever signal that the main culprit can get away with murder, which will endanger us all and be a stain on our humanity and some US journalists and Biden supporters have arrived at this point is the only difference between Trump bragging about saving M.

  • B S's ass and Biden acting as if he has no choice but to save MBS is Ass is the only difference.

  • The words surrounding the decision.

  • We'll try and answer that.

  • First of all, here's the official explanation.

  • Our objective is to recalibrate the relationship, prevent this from ever happening again and find ways as there are still to work together with Saudi leadership, while still making clear where we feel action is unacceptable.

  • That maybe the objective.

  • But others are suggesting there's an evergreen rule of politics at play here, really easy to preen and promise that you're going to do very tough things when there's nothing you can do the moment, the reins of power in your hand.

  • It's a lot more complicated to do the things you promised when you were just the campaign guy, and it is a lot more complicated.

  • That's true for every leader assuming power.

  • But there are longer term reasons to why the Biden administration won't just break with the Saudis, and they reach back to 1945 the the Arabian monarch, Kosovo or the President's cruiser to be received amid impressive and colorful ceremony here we're seeing that then US President Franklin Roosevelt meeting the Saudi king, and from this point, American oil companies began working with the Saudi state.

  • That made both sides a lot of money, and there were benefits beyond that.

  • Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings Institution puts it this way.

  • Every American president in the last 50 years has considered the free flow of oil through the Persian Gulf as a vital national security interest for the United States.

  • And while U.

  • S imports of Saudi oil have been decreasing, the security dimension of this relationship very much remains.

  • America has a number of military bases in Saudi Arabia, and right across the Gulf from Saudi Arabia is Iran, which the U.

  • S sees as a major security threat.

  • It doesn't trust Iran's nuclear activity, and it knows Iran supports militia in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

  • America believes it needs Saudi Arabia to counter the Iranians.

  • And if you want an illustration of the tangle that America finds itself in with Saudi Arabia, while the Hachioji murder is definitely won the war in Yemen is another.

  • Yeah.

  • On one side of this conflict, we have the Yemeni government, backed by a Saudi led coalition.

  • On the other are Houthi rebels backed by Iran, and President Biden has acted.

  • He suspended US military sales to Saudi Arabia for offensive purposes.

  • We'll have to see if this de escalates the conflict.

  • There are, though, already consequences the loss of arms sales for US firms.

  • And there's evidence the Houthi rebels in Yemen are emboldened.

  • But these are calculations that presidents have to make.

  • And while there may be a moral dimension in the end, America's interests are the dominant consideration.

  • It's a point made by this Obama era ambassador to Saudi Arabia talking about the issue of the crown prince and Jamal Kasogi doing sanctions right now, I do that on NBS would not have done very much to advance US interests other than to give some of the satisfaction.

  • Donald Trump was equally blunt when viewing arms sales to the Saudis.

  • They're spending $110 billion purchasing military equipment and other things.

  • Uh, if we don't sell it to them, they'll say, Well, thank you very much.

  • We'll buy it from Russia or thank you very much.

  • We'll buy it from China.

  • That doesn't help us.

  • Not when it comes to jobs, and not when it comes to our company's losing out on that work.

  • Donald Trump saw the world as America First America versus everyone else.

  • Joe Biden has a more global perspective, but he knows all American presidents know that empires don't last forever.

  • And nor two superpowers America can see a surging China, a resurgent Russia.

  • And if you listen to this commentator, that means decisions that are both unpalatable and inevitable.

  • The reality is you'd rather have a flawed and perhaps even deeply flawed ally than an adversary in this era of new power and big power competition, where Saudi Arabia might depend more on China, more on Russia for its arms deliveries for its economic strength.

  • And that is why the US won't walk away.

  • It didn't after a number of Saudis were involved in the 9 11 attacks in 2000 and one it hasn't after the Hachioji murder, President Obama understood this.

  • He went to Saudi Arabia and met the king despite profound reservations about its human rights record, a dancing President Trump understood this.

  • He made Saudi Arabia his first foreign trip, and President Biden understands this, too.

  • In their very different ways.

  • All three expressed disapproval of Saudi actions.

  • All three placed American interests above that.

  • This is an exchange, not an alliance.

  • And it's about the maintenance of American power.

  • And for all that, Joe Biden positions himself as a break from Trump on this marriage of convenience with the Saudis, continuity is the word mhm.

both this week, I want to look at a vital early test of Joe Biden's presidency.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 saudi saudi arabia arabia biden crown prince trump

The Superpower and the Saudis - BBC News

  • 2 1
    林宜悉 posted on 2021/03/07
Video vocabulary