Recent Middle East visit by Joe Biden generated a lot of headlines, but none of them were very favorable. After arriving in Israel, the president immediately attacked Holocaust victims.
He appeared mentally and physically weakened at several other times over the week, seeming distant and confused. Then there was Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia, when he gave a now-famous fist bump that caused the left’s ire toward the Saudis.
OPEC+ agreed to a tiny oil output hike of 100,000 b/d for Sept, sending Brent back above $100 a barrel.— Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) August 3, 2022
The increase (the 2nd smallest hike in the cartel's history, only behind one in 1986) comes despite President Biden's trip to Saudi Arabia | #OOTT 1/4 https://t.co/3KO9hcdQU0
But the main takeaway from the president’s trip was straightforward: It produced nothing. The White House made some attempts to imply that a contract for greater production had been reached, but no proof was ever provided. The explanation became apparent on Wednesday as the Saudis stabbed Biden in the front as part of a major OPEC Plus statement.
One of the original OPEC founders, Saudi Arabia has significant sway over the OPEC and OPEC Plus countries. Obtaining Saudi cooperation for a significant boost in output to help counteract the global oil supply shortage that has driven up prices was the only goal of Biden’s visit to the kingdom. The president received just 100,000 barrels per day instead of the anticipated increase in output of roughly 500,000 barrels per day. Given that the United States consumes around 21 million barrels of oil per day, an increase in demand worldwide of 100,000 barrels per day is only a rounding error.
The OPEC+ increase isn't real, either, as most member are already pumping at their maximum capacity. Only Saudi Arabia and the UAE can increase. If they adhere to their quotas, the 100,000 b/d translates in an extra 26,000 b/d for Riyadh and 8,000 b/d for Abu Dhabi | #OOTT 3/4— Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) August 3, 2022
This is the risk associated with having the worst foreign policy expert in the world in the White House. You can now add Biden’s proposal to penalize the Saudis while promoting Iran to the list of significant geopolitical decisions he has erred on over the past 50 years. This is not how it had to be. Trump left a better Middle East on the table, with Israel and the Arab countries coming closer to a historic peace. All Biden had to do was have his ice cream, maintain the current situation, and everyone would profit.