With Russia Trip, Saudi Arabia Sent a Message to Washington: We Have Choices

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a signing ceremony after their talks at the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, Oct. 5, 2017 (AP photo by Pavel Golovkin).
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a signing ceremony after their talks at the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, Oct. 5, 2017 (AP photo by Pavel Golovkin).

When U.S. President Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia last May, making it the first stop in his first foreign trip as president, he unleashed a wave of euphoria in the kingdom. The Saudis viewed Trump as a like-minded leader, whose ascent augured a future of closely coordinated foreign policy and firm advances for a U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian agenda in the Middle East. But five months later, in a twist few could have anticipated, Saudi King Salman landed in Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, signaling that Trump’s embrace of the kingdom has proved less fruitful than the Saudis […]

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