Washington Post editor: Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia ‘erodes our moral authority’

The Washington Post editor criticizes President Biden for an upcoming trip to the Middle East, during which the president plans to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, despite previously calling the Saudi leader a “pariah”.

The publication’s editor, Fred Ryan, criticized Biden for agreeing to meet with the crown prince, whom Biden condemned during the campaign for his role in ordering the assassination of Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi. at the Saudi consulate in Turkey in 2018.

“So why is President Biden now going to Jeddah on his knees to shake the bloody hand of the ‘pariah’? Once again he is looking for votes,” Ryan wrote in the Post on Monday.

“The president justified his trip as a necessary step to promote stability in the Middle East and to deter Russian and Chinese aggression. But the president should know that the meeting with Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, as he is called, will give the Saudi leader exactly what three years of Saudi PR campaigns, lobbying spending and even a new league of golf haven’t: a return to respectability. ”

Ryan argued that Biden’s meeting with the crown prince will send a signal to the world that American human rights values ​​are “negotiable” and that “the United States is prepared to look the other way when its business interests are at stake.” stakes”.

The trip comes as Biden faces mounting domestic pressure to increase oil production and imports amid high U.S. gasoline prices.

Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s largest oil producers, and the Biden administration has repeatedly pushed the country to increase its supply after Western countries curbed imports from Russia following his invasion of Ukraine.

“We have learned, through decades of hard lessons, that terrorists recruit by exploiting hatred of the United States among people brutalized by their own despotic rulers,” wrote Ryan, a former aide to former President Reagan. “This narrative succeeds best when Americans talk about a good human rights game until there’s something else we need more – like cheap oil.”

“Flip-flops like the one Biden causes erode our moral authority and breed anti-American resentment,” he continued. “They let democracy activists and reformist governments around the world know that Washington is not a reliable partner. And it confuses and sabotages our diplomacy — the opposite of what Biden says his trip is trying to achieve.