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Saudi king shows no signs of slowing aggressive foreign policy

Saudi Arabia has overextended itself militarily and economically and it would behoove it to return to a more traditional approach in its foreign policy.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (front seat) arrives to greet U.S. President Donald Trump for his address to the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTX36VOB

Since ascending to the throne 2½ years ago, King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud has asserted a much more aggressive and assertive foreign policy than his predecessors. It is clear that Salman is a risk-taker. What is less clear is how successful he has been. The kingdom is bogged down in an expensive quagmire in Yemen, outmaneuvered by its rival Iran, and has broken the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Traditional alliances have fractured and opposition to Saudi policies is building on both sides of the Atlantic.

Traditional Saudi foreign policy since King Faisal has been reactive and cautious. The kingdom was risk averse. National security policy was often done by clandestine means; force was avoided. Kings were decisive but careful not to overextend their capacity. 

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