Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, recently stated that the US could not guarantee security for the gulf nations anymore. The New York Times coverage of the speech does not mention the lack of commitment from Hagel, which makes Sec. Hagel's remarks appear to be about the region coming together to get over fractures of the last few years. The following block quote is not referenced by the Times.
“Bilateral ties with the United States and American military presence are not enough to guarantee regional security,” US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel told a GCC ministerial conference in Riyadh yesterday. “America’s engagement with Gulf nations is intended to support and facilitate, not replace, stronger multilateral ties within the GCC.”
That is a pretty big step away from the Kissinger pledge for security and modernization if you keep buying oil only in dollars 1970s deal. This is important because US military might and patrols of commercial sea lanes are what make the petrodollar work. We are the muscle and the dollar is suppose to have a stable value that would discourage oil producers from demanding gold for oil like the old days. The papers say the US is on the brink of exporting oil. Weird how the US is still importing 9.7 mil barrels per day (crude oil + petrol products) with generational highs in domestic production and suppressed oil use due to an economic depression.
The Saudis are the key as they export so much oil, and they have been sending emissaries to China recently. The Saudis are mad at the US making nice with Iran. The Iran window ends in July, and the prospects do not look good. Iran took the window as an opportunity to strengthen ties to China and Russia, while telling their people over and over that the US had recognized Iran's right to enrichment and having a nuclear program. The Iranians have played this well, while current American friends Israel and the Saudis fume. Hard to see the gains the US made. It is similar to Egypt signing billions in military deals with Russia and planning joint exercises with Russia for the first time in decades. The military men in charge of Egypt do not trust the US, seeking other patrons.