Stephen Sestanovich: Falling Oil Prices, the Saudis, and the Soviets – Washington Wire – WSJ
The desire to bring the economy into the modern world, the urge to rationalize and privatize—these are straight out of Mikhail Gorbachev’s playbook. (If you doubt this, read Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s recent Economist interview as well as Mr. Gorbachev‘s 1987 book, “Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World”—especially the section titled “On to Full-Cost Accounting!”)
As for opening up the system, I suspect Saudi experts would scoff at comparisons between the kingdom’s December elections (in which women voted for the first time) and Soviet-style glasnost. But give it time. People initially scoffed at Mr. Gorbachev’s political reforms too.
Saudi strategy diverges from the Soviet model in one crucial area: foreign policy. Mr. Gorbachev always argued that transformation at home required peace abroad—and he single-mindedly pursued accommodation with the U.S. The Saudi stance, by contrast, is both confrontational and interventionist. Ask Iran and Yemen.