Saudi Arabia is aggressively expanding its international relationships, and that will have inevitable consequences for the United States and its influence in the country.
A high-profile tour by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman last month culminated in pledges of $20 billion worth of investment in longtime partner Pakistan, $28 billion in economic accords with China and an open-ended goal to invest $100 billion in India, along with promises of increased trade and security cooperation.
In a post-Khashoggi world — where Riyadh's longtime bond with its foremost security ally, Washington, faced its biggest crisis in years over human rights issues — the kingdom is working to ensure it has a range of options at its disposal.
Saudi Arabia also needs a survival strategy: With falling oil prices and a highly fossil-fuel dependent economy, it's racing against the clock to diversify its revenue streams and bolster partnerships with larger powers to secure trade and security alliances. This pursuit is set to continue with help from the U.S., but it will also foster greater engagement with the East — both for economic and geopolitically strategic aims.