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Whitewashing a ‘Pariah’ State: Biden’s Visit to Saudi Arabia

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Elan Journo and Nikos Sotirakopoulos discuss President Biden’s decision to visit Saudi Arabia and meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in spite of Biden’s condemnation of the regime following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The conversation analyzes America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia and the philosophic ideas behind U.S. policy in the region.

Among the topics covered:

  • What we can learn from recent events about the nature of the Saudi regime;
  • Whether the U.S. and Saudi Arabia can have “common interests” given the regime’s character and actions;
  • The failure of American policymakers to take seriously the facts about Saudi Arabia and to adopt a principled stand;
  • Why the oil shortage does not justify pursuing closer relations with Saudi Arabia;
  • Why we should not ally with Saudi Arabia as a means of opposing Iran;
  • The mentality behind calls to appease and ally with Saudi Arabia;
  • Why the failure to deal properly with Saudi Arabia is ultimately a moral and intellectual failure.

Mentioned in this podcast are the expanded edition of the book Failing to Confront Islamic Totalitarianism, edited by Journo and Onkar Ghate; the Ayn Rand Lexicon entry on “Foreign Policy”; and Journo’s latest book, What Justice Demands.

The podcast was recorded on July 13, 2022. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

Podcast audio:


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Sam Weaver

Sam Weaver, BA in English, is an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and a recipient of the Conceptual Education Fellowship.

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