Bradley Hope and Justin Shack, investigative journalists for The Wall Street Journal, have different approaches to the topic in “Blood and Oil: The Relentless Quest for Global Power by Mohammed bin Salman.” For a certain reader, this book will be perfect. It is lively and well written, and it is based on a clear portrait of a man.
But be warned that this is a book on a fascinating but narrow topic: MBS’s thirst for wealth and how it relates to his desire for power. On this issue, Hope and Shack dug a lot and dug up some impressive tales.
However, many of the stories are not submitted. They often seem plausible, but it is impossible to be sure. And like F. Gregory Gause, one of Saudi Arabia̵7;s leading Western academic experts, likes to talk when it comes to the royal family, those who know don’t speak, and those who speak don’t know.
More importantly, as a result of this focus, geostrategic and geoeconomic factors are often briefly compressed. So they have a whole chapter on how MBS buys Leonardo da Vinci’s painting for $ 450 million, but only a few pages on the decision to intervene in Yemen, which is perhaps the most important (and harmful) strategic gambit of the last 30 years. .
Sometimes they claim a narrative that matches their emphasis on the shortcomings of MBS due to this other dynamic. So the 2020 oil war with Russia, in which Riyadh flooded the market in an attempt to force Moscow to agree to limit collective production, is a byproduct of MBS’s excessive pride.
Whatever role the ego played in it, this version did not take into account the fact that the price of oil was falling, and the Saudis and other producers desperately needed to stabilize it, but Russia refused to do so. Moreover, Saudi Arabia’s decision to flood the market and lower the price below $ 20 a barrel worked. This forced Moscow to agree to a reduction in production, and this was a huge victory for Riyadh.
Every union is difficult. Even Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt were disappointed in each other, not to mention Stalin and de Gaulle.