With concerns growing in the world over both global energy security and radical Islam, the distinct approaches of Russia and Saudi Arabia on these issues will have a resonance that transcends bilateral relations. Although the two countries are still careful in avoiding outright confrontation and hostile rhetoric, their incompatible goals in energy markets and Middle Eastern politics are already obvious. The future will show how this competition influences international relations.
Nikolay Pakhomov is a political analyst and consultant in New York City. He is a Russian International Affairs Council expert. You can follow him on Twitter @nik_pakhomov.
Image: A Russian military honor guard welcomes U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen in Moscow, Russia, June 26, 2009. Wikimedia Commons/ U.S. Navy