News Updates

America This Week: October 9-15, 2022

Nuclear brinksmanship goes next level, Insider trading runs amok, the Saudis switch teams, Demented activist grrls attack “The Sunflowers,” Britain owns itself, Three finance headlines, and more

Welcome to America This Week, where with the help of journalistic professionals, you can badly misuse what may be one of your last hours on earth, at least if this week’s news is to be believed. Remember that there is a podcast version of ATW in which author Walter Kirn and I tackle the issues of the week, going deep on everything from OPEC to nuclear holocaust to Ye in a discussion you can find here.

This was yet another week packed with world-shaking political and economic shifts. The top headlines:

U.S.-Saudi Romance On Rocks In a standoff that threatens to fundamentally alter America’s relationship to the Middle East, Saudi Arabia issued a seething press release Wednesday hinting at willingness to walk away from nearly a century of strategic cooperation with the U.S. Essentially, the dispute is about Ukraine. The Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) once comprised 13 members, including Kuwait, Venezuela, and Qatar, but a new coalition called OPEC+ was formed in 2018 that added ten countries, including Mexico, Kazakhstan and, crucially, Russia. Last week, OPEC+ announced it was cutting production by 2 million barrels a day, which will push prices higher everywhere, including already-stressed Europe (“This shows the energy crisis in Europe is threatening to escalate into a global price war” wrote the German paper Handelsblatt). American officials said the move “benefitted Russia,” and Joe Biden told CNN Tuesday said there would be “consequences” for “what they’ve done with Russia.” In response, the Saudis issued a biting statement, saying it rejected “any dictates, actions, or efforts to distort its noble objectives,” notwithstanding the “solid pillars upon which the Saudi-US relationship had stood over the past eight decades.” (Note the use of the past tense). More ominously, the release outed the U.S. for proposing “postponing the OPEC+ decision for a month,” which critics both within the U.S. and in Europe blasted as a self-interested gambit to delay pain beyond midterm elections.

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