When Joe Biden faced off with other Democrats at a presidential nomination debate in November 2019, he carried a big stick — and spoke loudly.
The subject at hand was Saudi Arabia and the killing of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents.
“I would make it very clear we were not going to in fact sell more weapons to them,” Biden said. “We were going to in fact make them pay the price, and make them in fact the pariah that they are.”
Biden went further, saying there is “very little social redeeming value in the present government in Saudi Arabia.”
But that was then. Biden was talking big, and as a mere candidate, he didn’t have to follow up in any way.
As president, it’s a whole different ballgame. Saudi Arabia, like China, is not a “friend” of the United States but rather a “strategic partner.” In layman’s terms, that means they have something we need, and we’ll turn a blind eye to all the bad stuff they do to get it.
So it was no surprise when Biden was forced to fly into Riyadh in July and, hat in hand, beg Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for more oil. So chummy was Biden that he fist-bumped the prince in the gilded royal palace in Jeddah.
In a piece on July 15, 2022, even the friendly New York Times said the visit didn’t go so well, with a headline that read, “Biden’s Fraught Saudi Visit Garners Scathing Criticism and Modest Accords.”
“In the most fraught foreign visit of his presidency to date, Mr. Biden’s encounter with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave the de facto Saudi leader a measure of the international rehabilitation he sought, while securing steps toward closer relations with Israel and an unannounced understanding that the kingdom would soon pump more oil to relieve high gas prices at home,” the Times wrote.
But the accords between the two nations were vague. One said simply that Saudi Arabia would “support global oil market balancing for sustained economic growth” but never said how much petroleum would be released.
And for his part, Biden said he wasn’t there for oil but added that he and the prince “privately reached an understanding that oil-producing states would agree to increase output at an Aug. 3 meeting,” the Times said.
In August, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced a boost in output — 100,000 barrels per day. The increase, equivalent to 0.1% of global demand, certainly wouldn’t help the U.S., which consumes about 20 million barrels a day.
“The increase of 100,000 bpd will be one of the smallest since OPEC quotas were introduced in 1982, OPEC data shows,” Reuters reported at the time.
But that was great news compared to what OPEC and the Saudi prince did on Wednesday.
While gas prices in the U.S. dropped for 99 days in a row, they’ve risen again in recent weeks. Yet OPEC thinks there’s a glut in the world market for crude oil and announced it would slash oil production by 2 million barrels a day.
Biden, stickless and speaking softly, said in a Wednesday statement that he was “disappointed by the shortsighted decision.” He left it to his press secretary to wield the big stick.
“Look, it’s clear that OPEC+ is aligning with — with Russia with today’s announcement. And I’ll leave it — I’ll leave it as that,” Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.
Biden’s fist-bump diplomacy has utterly failed, and Americans are about to pay a hefty price — at the pump.
Expect them to express their displeasure on Election Day.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.