U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit with a high-ranking American delegation to Riyadh shouldn’t only be read as a part of the protocol necessary in the passing from one King to another.
One should note that the U.S. delegation consisted of 30 of America’s political elite, with the bulk of them representing Washington’s foreign policy and national security bureaucracy of the last two decades.
Joining the president were his Republican opponent from 2008, Senator John McCain of Arizona, and several veterans of Republican administrations, including two former secretaries of state, James A. Baker III and Condoleezza Rice, and two former national security advisers, Brent Scowcroft and Stephen J. Hadley.
Also accompanying Obama in Riyadh were senior figures from his own administration, including Secretary of State John Kerry; John O. Brennan, the director of the CIA; and Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the head of the United States Central Command.
Several Democratic members of Congress were part of the delegation, including Senator Mark Warner of Virginia and Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Ami Bera of California and Eliot L. Engel and Joseph Crowley of New York. Most important may be former Secretary of State Jim Baker who the Saudi’s deeply respect.
This showing of mutual respect with all the pomp and circumstance is an important indicator of how close the two countries really are