Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, Ph.D., an affiliate professor at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, recently wrote an article for The Washington Post discussing the recent elevation of Mohammed bin Salman to crown prince of Saudi Arabia. He writes:
If [Mohammed bin Salman] succeeds with his vision to transform the Saudi economy by 2030 and reduce the country’s reliance on oil revenue, the crown prince — widely known as MBS — could enjoy a reign that lasts for decades, given that he only turns 32 in August and could take Saudi Arabia well into midcentury.
Were this to happen, the future King Mohammed would go down as the ruler who renewed his kingdom and regarded as the 21st-century equivalent of his grandfather, Abdulaziz, whom he so closely resembles physically. However, if the vested interests that have built up over decades prove immune to serious overhauls or MBS takes what proves to be one risk too many, history may remember him instead as an impulsive leader who talked a good game but could not ultimately back up his words with implementable actions.