It was important for the crown prince to meet “pillars of the American business community” in technology, energy, and entertainment to help drive reform in the kingdom and open its markets. Doubtless this will involve give and take, as Saudi is a big investor, but the hope is that, in the long-term, these relationships will have a positive impact on foreign investment in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia has a one-hundred year track record of protecting foreign investments in the kingdom. None of what happened with the Ritz detentions touched foreign investment. Settlements between private individuals like Prince Al Waleed bin Talal and the government are retroactive; this means that they pertain to past deals not future arrangements that these individuals may sign with a foreign company or investor. At the same time, these detentions should make the business environment in Saudi more transparent and create “a more level playing field” for foreign investors by ending kickbacks, commissions, and backdoor deals.

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