Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman arrived in Washington on Monday for his first visit to the US as presumptive heir to the throne. The trip comes at a crucial time in US-Saudi relations, and a potential turning point in American policy toward the Middle East in general. But it is also telling that the visit won’t be confined to Washington: MbS, as the prince is known, will also be visiting Boston, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston. The time-span and breadth of travel is a strong indication of how much is at stake for the brash, 32-year-old national leader, and how central Saudi Arabia’s political and economic relationship with the US is to his national, and personal, strategy. The list of policy imperatives is extensive, but MbS also knows that, first and foremost, he needs to polish his image in the US. He’s been widely criticised as not merely brash and ambitious, but as impulsive and reckless by many American commentators. His personal efforts to coun...

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