Chinese President Xi Jinping and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Hangzhou, China, September 2016
Damir Sagolj / File Photo / Reuters

For much of the past year, the Biden administration has struggled to find ways to ease the price of oil amid the shock of Russia’s war in Ukraine. So when OPEC+, the group of oil-exporting states, decided to cut oil production by two million barrels per day in early October, Washington’s reaction was unsparing. “It’s clear,” asserted White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, “that OPEC+ is aligning with Russia.” The blunt criticism was all the more striking given that it was aimed at Saudi Arabia, which in addition to being the cartel’s largest producer, is an

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