Saudi-US ties have stood the test of time

Saudi-US ties have stood the test of time

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US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman take part in a signing ceremony at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh. (AFP)

The roots of the Saudi-US relationship, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, date back to the 1930s. Those first steps took the form of economic exchanges as the US engaged in the joint development of oil company Aramco with the Kingdom, with US oil company Texaco eventually taking a stake in the company.
Such cooperation forever changed the dynamic of Saudi-US relations. Economic and security issues have been of the utmost importance, including shared commitments and initiatives to combat terrorism, negative influences, harmful ideologies and any other forces that threaten economic and social stability.
The friendship, trust and understanding built between the two countries over the years by such energy, economic and security partnerships set the standard for continuing cooperation that has ensured the Saudi-US relationship has prospered.
A shared desire for domestic and international security, and for both nations to prosper, has helped to forge closer ties, enabling the development of cultural, economic, governmental and social relations in ways that have strengthened the alliance.
With the need for security in the region and a desire to prosper in a world filled with disruptive forces that employ terrorism in an attempt to impose ideological controls, defense and other diplomatic cooperation to counter this has been essential to protect the economic and national-security interests of both nations.
With a great focus on defense spending, including the investment by Saudi Arabia of billions of dollars in US weapons technology, this collaboration between government and the private sector has provided increased security and greater protection from the enemies of the US and the Kingdom. It has helped to ensure stability, enabling further cooperation in the form of economic and social exchanges that has created opportunities for investments and developments in areas other than the existing energy relationship. These include health, education, technology and other sectors that are helping to create the economic diversification required by Saudi Vision 2030 to reduce the Kingdom’s dependence on oil revenues.
Given the global concern about climate change, along with predictions that the global supply of oil will begin to diminish by 2030, there is a need for the US and Saudi Arabia to take stock of their relationship and decide where they go from here, after 75 years of a relationship based heavily on oil and energy security. In moving away from this dependency, it will be essential to achieve economic diversity in future exchanges if the relationship is to flourish with shared goals in the international arena.

The relationship between the two nations can only continue to grow, with future investments and cooperation in sectors unrelated to oil, enabling innovation and prosperity.

Dr. Reem Daffa

In recognition of a need for support from allies in achieving the desired economic diversity, Saudi Arabia has been making efforts to attract billions of dollars of foreign investment in social, entertainment and other sectors. Recent social and economic reforms in the Kingdom seem to have been successful in encouraging foreign investment in the country’s development, which arguably benefits US interests.
With the US already a top investor in Saudi Arabia, one of the Kingdom’s strongest allies and leading partner in the world order, the relationship between the two nations can only continue to grow, with future investments and cooperation in sectors unrelated to oil, enabling innovation and prosperity. This will help to strengthen both countries and their relationship for years to come.

  • Dr. Reem Daffa is vice president and CEO of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC).
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