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and now the hard part
and now the hard part

And Now the Hard Part

Resetting the U.S. Relationship With Saudi Arabia

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U.S. President Donald Trump poses with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House on March 20, 2018.
U.S. President Donald Trump poses with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House on March 20, 2018.
U.S. President Donald Trump poses with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House on March 20, 2018. Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Kingdom Council/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Brookings scholar Bruce Riedel on how America's oldest alliance in the Middle East is being tested and what to do about it.

The U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia has rested for decades on an unwritten agreement that benefited both sides: The United States provides security and access to global markets, while the Saudis ensure that the oil keeps flowing. But the rise of the United States as a leading energy producer and the increasing recklessness of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are forcing a rethinking of that contract.

In the first episode of our new podcast, And Now the Hard Part, we tackle the question: How can Washington reset its relationship with Riyadh?

And Now the Hard Part is a partnership between Foreign Policy and the Brookings Institution. Each week, we look at one vexing problem in the world, trace its origin, and then offer a way forward. Our host is Foreign Policy’s editor in chief, Jonathan Tepperman, and the guests are some of the smartest analysts around—all scholars at the Brookings Institution.

“The track record of Mohammed bin Salman is one reckless bad decision after another,” says Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at Brookings and our guest this week. “[He] has engaged in a series of foreign adventures, most notably in Yemen, that have not enhanced Saudi security, not enhanced American security—rather, have probably detracted from both and created the worst humanitarian disaster in the world today in Yemen.”

Hear the episode on this page or subscribe and download wherever you get your podcasts.

About And Now the Hard Part:  The world is a particularly confusing and daunting place these days: Russian bots, North Korean nukes, trade wars and climate emergencies. To understand it better, Foreign Policy and the Brookings Institution are teaming up for an 8-part podcast series. On each episode, host Jonathan Tepperman and a guest from Brookings discuss one of the world’s most vexing problems and trace its origins. And then, the hard part: Tepperman asks the guest to focus on plausible, actionable ways forward. Jonathan Tepperman, Foreign Policy’s editor in chief, hosts the podcast. The guests are some of the smartest and most experienced analysts around—all scholars from the Brookings Institution, including former government and intelligence officials.  See All Episodes

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More And Now the Hard Part episodes:

How to Reverse the Global Drift Toward Authoritarianism

Brookings President John Allen on why autocrats are rising and what to do about it.

How to Boost the Economies of Africa

Brookings scholar Landry Signé on why the continent underperforms when it comes to trade and what can be done about it.

How to Manage North Korea

Brookings senior fellow Jung H. Pak on why the United States has failed to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and what to do about it.

Other Foreign Policy podcasts:

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To learn more about creating a podcast with us, contact Andrew Sollinger at andrew.sollinger@foreignpolicy.com.

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Robert Malley, Biden administration special envoy for Iran, testifies about the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations on Capitol Hill May 25, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
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