Key Points

In the wake of Khashoggi’s murder, the Trump administration must thread a needle as it seeks to punish the kingdom while trying to salvage a strategic relationship. It can do so, even as it focuses on the kingdom’s rights record, by keeping all leverage options on the table. If Riyadh wants to preserve its partnership with the U.S., it can take a first step by improving its human rights record and course-correct towards policies that reflect U.S. values.

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Is this a teachable moment for Washington’s Middle East experts? One can only hope.

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Together, these two moves represent the most practical ways to move forward without triggering a full cutoff of political or economic relations. Of course, it won’t satisfy those seeking justice for Jamal Khashoggi. But it would demonstrate America’s commitment to human rights while preserving an alliance America still needs.

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Projects