The United States and Saudi Arabia are putting together one of the biggest arms sales in history and looking toward a new regional security architecture. Behind the scenes, the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have been conducting extensive negotiations, led by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. After years of disillusionment with the Obama administration, the Saudi leadership was eager to do business. “They were willing to make a bet on Trump and on America,” a senior White House official said.
All are career foreign service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations. “It’s the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that’s incredibly difficult to replicate,” said David Wade, who served as State Department chief of staff under Secretary of State John Kerry. “Department expertise in security, management, administrative and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector.”