Biden's Mideast tour: sobering results?

Israel's security interests, human rights in Saudi Arabia and top of the list, global oil production, were the key points on the agenda: on his tour of the Middle East, US President Joe Biden attempted a balancing act between realpolitik and demands to renounce violence. The European press discusses which of the West's interests carry the most weight and what chances they have of being pushed through.

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Polityka (PL) /

Oil is the top priority

Polityka is disappointed:

“One of the main objectives of Biden's visit to Jeddah - if not the main one - was to convince [Mohammed bin Salman] that Saudi Arabia should increase its oil production to help lower the global price of oil. This is currently a key issue for America, where rising inflation, including increased petrol prices, is worsening the public mood, accompanied by falling ratings in the polls for the president and his party in the run-up to November's midterm elections. ... Ultimately, the US alliance with the Saudis is not based on values but on shared interests. So why bother with all the communiques about human rights?”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

Biden wants to solve domestic problems

Petrol prices take precedence over human rights for the US president right now, notes Corriere del Ticino:

“You would have to be blind not to see that Biden's core motivation for his visit to Saudi Arabia is the fact that this country is a leading oil exporter. ... One critical problem Biden faces is the rise in petrol prices, which is so sensitive a political issue in the US that Republicans have been waging a fierce opposition campaign for months. The only way to lower fuel prices is to increase the supply of crude oil.”

El País (ES) /

US has not abandoned leading role

El País sees plenty of realpolitik at play:

“The impact of the war on the global energy market requires a political realism that has destroyed the idealism of the Democratic president. ... After Trump's chaotic term in office and the hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, this tour nullifies Washington's strategy of withdrawal from the region. Those who believed that the geopolitical battle with Beijing was only about forging Asian alliances to the detriment of the commitment to Europe and the Middle East were wrong. ... Biden has just expressed his desire to take the lead again in this region.”

Der Standard (AT) /

The end of American hegemony

Biden is travelling with no illusions that the US has any say in the Middle East any more, Der Standard comments:

“It suffices to read what the US and Saudi Arabia say in their joint statement on Ukraine - or rather, what they don't say: it didn't even stretch to a call to peace. The Saudis are just as mindful of Russia's standpoint as they are of Washington's, and that won't change any time soon. The American era in the Middle East is over.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

The West must coordinate better

The creation of a bipolar world order is not in the West's interest, warns the Frankfurter Rundschau:

“Since the US and its European allies only seem to be able to join forces on specific issues such as the war in Ukraine they need to rethink larger projects such as a worldwide alliance of democratic versus autocratic states. ... It would make more sense strategically and politically for the US and their European allies to define a common goal and only then start negotiating with the likes of Saudi Arabia and China, instead of creating a bipolar world that is incapable of tackling the challenges of this century - first and foremost protecting the climate.”