Ideologies and U.S.-Saudi Relations after the Cold War’s End

Mark L. Haas

in The Clash of Ideologies

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199838424
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933419 | DOI:
Ideologies and U.S.-Saudi Relations after the Cold War’s End

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This chapter examines the effects of ideologies on U.S.-Saudi relations. It is divided into two main sections. The first explores why the two states were able to establish a close alliance over many decades during the Cold War despite large ideological differences. This outcome was due to a combination of a number of factors (not just oil) that other relationships rarely possess. These findings help us understand why some ideological enemies and not others are able to ally. The chapter’s second primary objective is to demonstrate how ideological calculations affected in major ways U.S.-Saudi relations after the Cold War’s end, and especially after 2001. The ideological gulf separating Saudi Arabia and the United States weakened the alliance in the 1990s and early 2000s, and mutual enmity against a shared ideological rival—dissident Islamists led by al Qaeda—played a critical role in resuscitating the alliance at a time when it was vulnerable.

Keywords: ideologies; U.S.-Saudi relations; alliances; Islamists; al Qaeda

Chapter.  20358 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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