French-Saudi ties are at an all-time high, despite Paris’ condemnation of a death-penalty sentence for a 20-year-old protester. But as relations between Washington and Riyadh continue to fray, France is unlikely to supplant the U.S. as the Gulf nation’s most important Western partner.
After the attacks of Sept. 11, America’s strategic paradigm for the conflict with extremism relied on local militaries and governments to secure the places where extremism grows. For some reason, Americans have been slow to learn that, although this was an elegant solution, it hasn’t worked.
Time is on America’s side in terms of responding to Russia’s intervention in Syria. Russia simply does not have the hardware or capacity to project force decisively over the long haul. But focusing too much on the Syrian conflict runs the risk of obscuring the broader question of how the Russian intervention impacts the regional picture.