Global Affairs

May 26, 2017

Although, speculations regarding the military ambitions of US-Saudi alliance are factual yet, an under-reported aspect, connected with it, is the Saudi urge to diversify its economy. With the failure to revive the worth of petro-dollars, the Kingdom has felt the shocks of depending on single source of revenue i.e. crude oil which has met steep value decline recently. Now, the Kingdom intends to liberalize and privatize its economy to an unprecedented extent. According to an opinion by CNN, Saudi Royals under the vision of Muhammad bin Salman – the Deputy Crown Prince – are ready to diversify the nation’s economy in a number of ways including the:

·        Introduction of several multinational commercial franchises in the country

·        Privatization of some major state owned production units

·        Indulgence in a number of businesses beyond petro-chemicals

The anticipations of this diversification are marking a clear cut change in the Saudi traditional mode of governance. It is promising women not only more involvement in the national life but also liberty from conservative approach.

With all these motivations and goals, Saudis have chosen the USA as a sort of supervisor to branch out the Kingdom’s economy. But, why not China? Why the Kingdom has not tilted towards China for this very purpose when it is clear that gradually the Chinese economy is overtaking that of the USA. Here, the answer lies in strategic needs of Saudi Arabia. Although, China is touching economic apex yet, it does not possess the influence in Middle East that Saudis want to use against the regional government hostile to it – including that of Iran, Syria and Yemen. Ultimately, alliance with the US serves dual purpose for the kingdom: diversification of economy and exploitation of US influence in the Middle East for strengthening the Saudi regional position.

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