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Soaring Oil Prices Force Biden to Engage With Saudis He’d Spurned

The president is seeking to recalibrate a once-important relationship—just not in the way he originally wanted.

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Photo illustration: 731; Photo: Bloomberg

When campaigning for president, Joe Biden vowed to turn Saudi Arabia into a “pariah” over the brutal killing of a newspaper columnist. Once in the White House, he temporarily froze weapons sales to the kingdom over its war in Yemen. He also outlined a vision to make the US a renewable energy powerhouse, less reliant on an oil market where the Saudis hold so much sway.

But with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine posing the biggest disruption to energy supplies in decades, Biden is having to take a different tack, recalibrating an alliance that is increasingly critical to the global economy—and the most strained it has been in years.