This week, Council President Ivo Daalder answers the question, "Will everything blow over with Saudi Arabia and will ties stay strong between Washington and Riyadh?" See Ivo's response in the latest installment of #AskIvo. Also, be sure submit your question on Twitter for the next episode to @IvoHDaalder using #AskIvo.
I am Ivo Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and this is #AskIvo, a series where you get to ask me questions on global issues of concern to you.
This question came during a recent program releasing my new book with Jim Lindsay called “The Empty Throne,” and the question is: Will everything blow over with Saudi Arabia and will ties stay strong between Washington and Riyadh?
It's a timely and important question. The reality is that the murder of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was one of the most blatant human rights violations we've seen in a long time. There's very little doubt in my mind that it happened because it was ordered at the top. And increasingly we now face a question of what kind of relationship the United States will have with a country whose leaders are murdering their citizens on foreign soil.
At the very least, we can't go back to business as usual. It's high time that the Unite States stopped supporting the war that the Saudis are leveling against Yemen, which has led to indiscriminate destruction of civilians throughout that country and the worst humanitarian crisis in the world according to the United Nations. We need to come to a situation in which the United States no longer slavishly follows whatever the Saudi leadership does, but starts to stand up for our own interests. There will be times when the United States and Saudi Arabia will of course agree, whether it's on questions of Iran, or the broader Middle East, or how to deal with Syria.
But there are also times when we have to stand up for our values, when it is important to remind our partners that to be a partner of the United States means, at the very least, you treat your citizens with a degree of fairness and human dignity that all of them need. So, the future of the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia will be determined by how Riyadh behaves.
Thanks for tuning in. If you want to ask me a question, shoot me a tweet with #AskIvo.