RELEASE: With Saudi Reforms Underway, Next President Has Chance to Reframe the U.S.-Saudi Relationship

Washington, D.C. — With the president of the United States fresh off of an important trip to Saudi Arabia and meetings with the Saudi king and other Gulf state leaders, the Center for American Progress has released a report that examines the current state of the U.S.-Saudi relationship and calls for a new approach for strategically important cooperation.

Based on recent research that CAP staff conducted in Saudi Arabia, the report recommends starting a new bilateral strategic dialogue with Saudi Arabia to establish joint goals on shared interests, including regional security and the domestic Saudi reform plan, Vision 2030.

“Saudi Arabia is undergoing an economic and governing shift,” said Rudy deLeon, CAP Senior Fellow and co-author of the report. “The next president has an opportunity to build a new foundation for bilateral relations that focuses on shared interests looking forward into one of the most complex regions in the world. This foundation should not ignore basic differences in values and traditions between the two countries, nor should it let those differences stand in the way of cooperation in areas where we have shared goals and shared stakes.”

The report makes the following recommendations:

  • Recognize the opportunities provided by the new Saudi economic reform program to create openings for progressive change as the Kingdom reworks its social contract and moves away from its economic dependence on energy.
  • Create incentives for a constructive Saudi foreign policy as the country moves to take a harder line against threats from Iran, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and the Islamic State.
  • Be honest about core values and differences but adopt a program of pragmatic cooperation.

Click here to read the report.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at tcaiazza@americanprogress.org or 202.481.7141.