Biden’s Dilemmas, Part 1: Punishing Saudi Arabia

Joe Biden has had harsh words for the Saudis and the kingdom’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

It appeared that the period of appeasement toward the Saudis in the Trump administration was over. But the Biden administration’s inaction over a report that implicated the crown prince in the 2018 killing of the dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi has disappointed many of his allies.

Today, the first of a two-part look at what we’re learning about the Biden administration. First, a look at its approach to Saudi Arabia. 

Guest: David E. Sanger, a White House and national security correspondent for The Times. 

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Background reading: 

  • For President Biden, deliberation and caution has thus far been his approach on the world stage.
  • The president has decided not to penalize the Saudi crown prince over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, fearing a breach in relations. This decision will disappoint many in the human rights community and in his own party. 

For more information on today’s episode, visit

 Transcripts of each episode will be made available by the next workday.

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