Nineteen leaders of the world’s largest economies and an EU representative will gather in Buenos Aires today to kick off this year’s G20 Summit.
Normally a straightforward affair, this year’s G20 will be full of intrigue. In the wake of the Jamal Kashoggi murder, the attention of many leaders will be on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS). Though many leaders will likely shun the crown prince over his role in the killing, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin may embrace his company.
While MbS’ pariah status will assure a great deal of awkwardness in his interactions with other leaders, it is unlikely to result in any tangible punishment against him. With the crown prince set to rule Saudi Arabia—the world’s largest oil exporter—for decades to come, most leaders will want to avoid compromising their nation’s long-term relations with Riyadh. In the short-term, however, US and Russian relations with Saudi Arabia may improve as their leaders stand with bin Salman in the face of international alienation.
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Alex is a senior analyst in the Current Developments team with a primary focus on the Americas. He also serves as an editor on The Daily Brief.