The latest row between Washington and Riyadh over the decision by OPEC+ to cut oil production is not just a dispute over oil prices. It is a more fundamental divide between the U.S. and most of its Middle East security partners over what’s at stake in the war in Ukraine, and how each side sees the current geopolitical map.
EU leaders are gathered in Brussels, where they are locked in a heated discussion about Europe’s energy crisis. But as they try to hammer out an agreement, they’re also keeping a nervous eye on the protests brewing in France over inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, which could tip over into widespread civil unrest.
The rise and decline of the West’s strategic commitment to Indochina from the 1950s to the 1970s should be kept in mind when examining U.S. and European relations with the Gulf monarchies today. Though ties between the two sides are still extensive, U.S. and European policymakers are reassessing their commitment to the region.
Across the world, there have been more than 8,200 protests and riots in response to the rising cost of living in the first seven months of this year alone. Although the actors involved represent broad, heterogeneous demographics, there are some clear patterns and takeaways that have already emerged.
As European countries prepared for a sharp drop in natural gas supplies and an impending energy crisis, the Netherlands announced it would slash production at one of the world’s largest natural gas fields. The announcement reflects the competing priorities across Europe, pitting climate goals against the energy crisis.
OPEC+ announced last week that it will cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day starting in November, driving up prices globally. The U.S. responded by framing the cuts to oil production as a nakedly self-serving move that will benefit Russia, singling out Saudi Arabia as the ringleader of that collective effort.
Europe’s eyes were fixed on Prague today for the inaugural summit of the European Political Community assembling all of continental Europe’s leaders, besides Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko. But tomorrow’s European Council meeting focusing on Europe’s energy crisis is expected to deliver more tangible outcomes.