, 25 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
@realDonaldTrump's use of the word "payment" surprised/shocked/upset some folks.

Here's the thing: 🇸🇦 paying 🇺🇸 for protection is nothing new

There have been times when 🇸🇦 literally paid money, such as during the 1991 Persian Gulf War
Then Secretary of State James Baker asked Saudi King Fahd for $15 billion dollars to help cover the costs of the campaign. Fahd agreed.
Combined, 🇸🇦 & 🇰🇼 covered the bulk of the expenses for the war.

That was during an actual war that involved Saudi Arabia. So definite relevance to the current situation.

But even outside such a scenario, 🇸🇦 pays 🇺🇸 for protection.
The primary form of "payment" is not in the form of straight granting of💰
Some of it is through weapons purchases

But the most significant means of "payment" are policies that help support the 💵as the global reserve currency.
Saudi Arabia uses its massive oil sale surpluses to invest in the dollar.

As the US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John West reported in 1978: “On the economic side, Saudi support for the dollar has been one of the most satisfying aspects of our relationship in the past year”
In his 1979 report, West laid out the following as the goals of US policy towards 🇸🇦 :
A cache of such documents are found via the Foreign Relations of the United States series

These policies built on the earlier establishment of a Joint Economic Commission between 🇸🇦&🇺🇸

Key to the arrangement is that it not be widely publicized, as per a request by the Saudi government. Frustration over this is evident in a 1979 @nytimes story

Notice that all of the above applies to the 1970s. That's because the 1970s was the critical decade in 🇸🇦-🇺🇸 relations.
Prior to the 1970s, the Bretton Woods system ensured the 💵as the key currency
And the US was the world's dominant oil producer
But things began to change in the 1970s.

As the above chart shows, 🇸🇦 caught up with🇺🇸oil production...
...Nixon took the US off the gold standard, thereby ending the Bretton Woods system

A famous a-hole move:
...oh, and that whole OPEC (@OPECSecretariat) oil embargo thing
Not good stuff for the $ or the global economy.

But by the 1980s? Well, Saudi willingness to make economic concessions for continued US protection was more clear.
This was due to the 1979 Iranian Revolution...
...The emergence of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the subsequent Iran-Iraq War...
...and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
Much of this, especially the efforts during the 1970s to underpin the economic side of the 🇸🇦-🇺🇸 "special relationship" are detailed by @Bree_Croteau & I in a piece for a (🤞) forthcoming symposium in ISP on the 💵's position in the "Liberal International Order"
In short, expecting "payment" from Saudi Arabia for US protection is not surprising or unprecedented.

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