The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Biden’s Saudi trip delivered a lot for Americans

President Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Gulf Cooperation Council on July 16 in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

The Aug. 5 editorial “A failed fist bump” argued that President Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia failed to deliver for the American people. I disagree.

The editorial, which called the decision by OPEC Plus to boost output by 100,000 barrels per day “little more than a rounding error’s worth of additional crude oil supply,” failed to note that Saudi Arabia is now producing 11 million barrels per day, a level reached only twice before. This increase is already having a positive effect on plummeting oil prices.

Our sale of Patriot interceptor missiles to Saudi Arabia is not a concession. These missiles are produced in the United States by American workers. And they are used solely to protect Saudi Arabia — and, I might add, the 70,000 Americans who live and work there — against Iranian-enabled missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The editorial did not address Yemen, which is now in its fifth month of a truce in its civil war. That truce was just extended this month, and our diplomacy with Saudi Arabia and partners in the region was critical in achieving it. Thousands of Yemeni lives are being saved as a result.

As for human rights, the president raised his concerns in every meeting he held, to include those with Saudi leaders. Indeed, his very first order of business in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, was to restate his strong views about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

Mr. Biden’s Middle East trip was an important opportunity to advance our national interests across a range of issues. He set forth a policy designed to secure a more peaceful, integrated and stable region, thereby reducing the burdens on American troops and their families. I think the editorial missed that broader point.

John F. Kirby, Washington

The writer is coordinator for strategic communication for the National Security Council.

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