On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, arrived in the United States for a three-week marathon visit that follows stops in London and Cairo, where red carpets were rolled out and a number of big-ticket deals signed. But the United States was always the centerpiece of this roadshow. The crown prince will crisscross America on his way from a pro forma appearance in Washington to potentially more meaningful stops in Boston, New York, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Houston, where he will court influential investors and partners for his far-reaching reform agenda back home.
Prince Mohammed must feel confident that his consolidation of power in the kingdom over the past several months is irreversible. He’s out of the country for weeks while a host of jilted princes and businessmen are fresh from being locked up in Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel as a part of a dramatic anti-corruption crackdown, or perhaps shakedown.
While Prince Mohammed has been in the international limelight for more than two years, this trip looks like something of a coming-out party. Not yet on the throne, he is already being treated abroad as the Saudi head of state.