In a major walkback from his campaign pledge to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” for human rights abuses like the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, President Biden will reportedly visit Riyadh with the goal of persuading Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to help the US alliance win its economic war against Russia.
The Guardian tells us the trip “suggests Biden has prioritized his need to bring oil prices down and thereby punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, over his stand on human rights.”
So in order to punish Vladimir Putin for his war crimes and his assault on freedom and democracy, Biden will be courting a tyrannical war criminal whose country has no freedom or democracy.
Washington will be ending its brief diplomatic dry spell with a government that has been waging a horrific war against Yemen while suppressing any semblance of human rights at home in order to more effectively punish Putin for waging a horrific war against Ukraine which we’re told threatens freedom and democracy throughout the western world.
I am not the first to note the risible irony of this development.
“The Biden Administration is openly planning to pay homage to one [of] its closest allies — one of the most despotic and murderous tyrants on the planet, the Saudi Crown Prince — at the same time it convinces Americans its motive for fighting wars is to defend freedom and democracy,” tweeted Glenn Greenwald.
“The EU literally just banned oil from Russia (mimicking the United States’ actions) because they don’t want to give money to a ‘dictator’. So Biden is travelling soon to Saudi Arabia to try and bring energy prices down– which is a vibrant democracy, as you all know,” tweeted Richard Medhurst.
“As part of mobilizing support for the great war for ‘freedom’ in Ukraine, Biden will be visiting the great beacon of ‘democracy,’ Saudi Arabia this month. What’s a little murder and dismemberment between friends?” tweeted Joseph Kishore.
Indeed, one wonders if perhaps Putin could settle this whole conflict by staging a few mass beheadings and dismembering a Washington Post reporter with a bone saw to get on America’s good side.
A lot of people talk about the “hypocrisy” of the US empire, as though being hypocritical is the issue. But the complete lack of moral consistency in US imperial behavior is noteworthy not merely because of hypocrisy: it’s noteworthy because it shows the US empire has no morality.