The Brief, May 2016


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May 9, 2016

U.S.-Saudi relations at a crossroads

As President Barack Obama visited Saudi Arabia, experts reflected on the country's complicated partnership with the United States.

Dean Vali Nasr told CNN that while there is a history of close U.S.-Saudi relations, the two are now drifting apart because the United States has become energy independent and no longer sees Saudi oil as "pivotal to its strategic needs." Watch here

Conflict Management Program Director Daniel Serwer wrote in Fortune that the United States is far less vulnerable to a cutoff of Middle East oil supplies since it is producing more and importing less oil, but that a cutoff could still "cause worldwide economic damage." Read more

Foreign Policy Institute Fellow Randa Slim stated on PBS NewsHour that since 9/11, "mistrust has seeped into this relationship and that breach has not been overcome," noting that the Saudis believe the United States is "not willing to stand up to what they perceive to be subversive Iranian activities in their backyard." Watch here 
Brazil's future amid political and economic crisis 

As Brazil faces a deep recession, corruption scandal involving a state-run oil company, and impeachment proceedings to remove President Dilma Rousseff, experts explore the country’s future.  

Director of Latin American Studies Riordan Roett said in Al-Ahram Weekly that Brazil's Senate will likely go to trial to impeach its president, but even if Rousseff avoids a removal, Roett said she will be a "lame duck president who will get nothing done" and Brazilians will need to wait until the 2018 elections to see any real change. Read more

Despite the country's economic turbulence, International Development Adjunct Lecturer Monica Baumgarten de Bolle said on WAMU’s The Diane Rehm Show that as Latin America's largest economy, Brazil still has the potential to be a success story because it has "advanced quite substantially in reducing inequality and alleviating poverty." Listen here

The Brief highlights Johns Hopkins SAIS expertise on current events and is produced monthly by the Office of Marketing, Communications, and Strategic Initiatives. Like The Brief? Share it on Facebook and Twitter, forward to a friend, or subscribe