Riyadh wanted to demonstrate "the new ruthlessness and resolve" of Saudi monarchs, the analyst noted in an opinion piece for Information Clearing House. The oil kingdom also tried to "crystallize, widen and deepen a national-religious divide between Sunni and Shiite, Arab and Persian, Riyadh and Tehran."
In addition, Saudi Arabia sought to undermine the thaw in relations between Iran and the United States, as well as put an end to the Iranian nuclear deal.
"Like every regime in the Middle East, the Saudis look out for their own national interests first. And their goals here are to first force us to choose between them and Iran, and then to conscript US power on their side in the coming wars of the Middle East," Buchanan warned.
The incident, which the analyst referred to as a "hubristic blunder," should serve both as a wake-up call and a lesson for the American political leadership since Saudi interests and ambitions rarely coincide with Washington's national interests. Take the global campaign against Daesh, which many nations consider a top foreign policy priority. Apparently, Saudis do not share this sentiment.
"The Saudis went AWOL from the battle against [Daesh] and al-Qaida in Iraq and Syria. Yet they persuaded us to help them crush the Houthi rebels in Yemen, though the Houthis never attacked us and would have exterminated al-Qaida. Now that a Saudi coalition has driven the Houthis back toward their northern basecamp, [Daesh] and al-Qaida have moved into some of the vacated terrain," the analyst explained.
Saudi Arabia is not the only US ally in the region, whose reckless actions could have led to dire consequences. Turkey's decision to shoot down a Russian bomber in Syrian airspace could have ended in a military confrontation, if Moscow was less rational.
"Had Vladimir Putin chosen to respond militarily against Turkey, a NATO ally, his justified retaliation could have produced demands from Ankara for the United States to come to its defense against Russia," Buchanan observed.
Washington appears to have chosen wrong allies in the Middle East.
"In Syria's civil war – with the army of Bashar Assad battling ISIS and al-Qaida – it is Russia and Iran and even Hezbollah that seem to be more allies of the moment than the Turks, Saudis or Gulf Arabs," the analyst noted.