Is Mohammed Bin Salman the Most Powerful Leader in the World Right Now?

The G20. If you compare it to, let’s say G7 or BRICS, it’s like bringing a hand grenade to a pillow fight. It is the alpha and the omega of geopolitical shindigs. And the party this group is holding right now? It’s probably the most confrontational, uncompromising blast wave-inducing get-together in years.

The story so far

Xi Jinping is cross with Narendas Modi, so he’s sulking back in Beijing. Putin is on an armour-plated train somewhere, imagining he’s the star of Snowpiercer 2. The EU is jumping up and down, waving its hand like a kid at the back of the class just begging to be noticed. Joe Biden’s just been woken up from his afternoon nap. And Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman? I have a picture of him in my mind sitting back, the ghost of a smile on his face, perhaps even tossing a coin up and down, catching it and doing it again. Because right now, he’s holding the world by the whatsits.

Ol’ Joe is about to present a case for a rail network connecting the Gulf states to India in the southeast and Israel in the northwest.

Smiler Jinping is pushing for the Belt and Road Initiative that carves a swathe through the Gulf States on its way to economically devouring Middle Africa.

At stake for the US is a strong showing in foreign policy for the first time in a generation. This includes being the broker of normalization of relations between the Kingdom and the ‘unfriendly country’, Israel.

At stake for China is the continuation of their debt trap diplomacy in Africa.

Of course, the latter sounds markedly more nefarious. But the former is equally self-serving.

MBS, the floor is yours

Either way, Mohammed Bin Salman wins big for his country. Investors will look anew at opportunities like NEOM and Red Sea Global. His stature as a global statesman will receive a bump in the right direction for a change. And the Kingdom itself, as the economic driver for the region, will emerge as a worldwide hub for tech innovation and sustainability as the world races towards its accountability countdown of 2030.

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