The US Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken was in Riyadh overnight. It wasn’t a long stay though. He’s off to sort out China next.

Bloomberg and now the Financial Times via different sources in the US State Department are putting out that Blinken will head to Beijing sometime this month, in the latest sign that Beijing and Washington are beginning to stabilise a turbulent bilateral relationship that had sunk to the lowest point in decades.

“Blinken is expected to visit within the coming weeks, according to two people familiar with his plans, wrote the FT overnight

The top US diplomat’s name in China is grimy, if not actual mud. Blinky J abruptly cancelled his last planned Tango in Tiananmen originally scheduled in February, when a rather guilty looking Chinese spy balloon fell out of the sky somewhere over US territory, which put pay to what was supposed to be an exchange of olive branches, if not bags of cash.

It’s a tough time to extending the hand of not outright mutual disdain.

China’s just banned US Micron chips for ‘severe cybersecurity risks’, part of a tit for tat microchip war and rebuke from Washington, notes the SCMP.

And china’s caught Blinken on the hop with initiatives in the Middle East, brokering deals where the US usually likes to be  front and centre and China’s won the less outright distrust of other similarly flexible moral economies like Saudi Arabia.

According to US State Dept. spokesperson Matthew Miller, Blinken met with his Saudi counterpart the Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan to get on in there  and ‘discuss a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues.’

There’s a Pandora’s Box of problems in bilateral ties and these days, what big money people know should be a big money love-in,  is now in fact a relationship fraught with fraughtness.

The brief but incredibly important meet between the diplomatic elders of the world’s richest, bad-mannered, ill-tempered and prickliest oil producing nation-tycoons would’ve been of the fraughtiest and haughtiest kind.

The US knows The House of Saud’s been naughty. The Saudi’s know the Americans aren’t sporty.

These rhymes are the gentlest way to say that both sides find the other utterly morally repugnant and yet absolutely economically indispensable.

With Democrats in charge of the White House, betting on one or the other is so much harder. Back in the day, when the Kremlin were at least a murderous Autocratic regime with an excellent ideological cover story, the Soviet back channels would pine away to their US handlers when the touchy-feely Dem’s were in power – for the good ol’ days of the Nixon’s and the General Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower’s. Yes, they tried to blow us up, but at least we knew they were trying to blow us up.

The Democrats on the other hand talk of love and world peace and shared values. And come to Moscow and hug us. And then try to blow us up.

Like Brutus watching the conspirators hide their faces when they meet on the eve of Caesar’s assassination, America’s global frenemies understand two important tells when dealing with Democrats in power:

  1. They really see themselves as the good guys, fighting for the just cause
  2. They’ll do anything not to be seen as anything else

Republicans have no shame in doing whatever needs to be done in forwarding American interests,  so autocrats can empathise. Democrats are themselves unaware of the point at which they’ll betray their untested beliefs – instead they bury their delusions – as Brutus says, not as dumb as the name history has given him, hiding them in smiles and affability.

The Russians know their Shakespeare as well as the Chinese.

The Saudi’s on the other hand know that of their Prince can have a Washington Post journo dismembered in the backroom of a Turkish consulate, and then wait a few months for it all to blow over – then the world is its Professional Golders’ Association.

“Secretary Blinken and the Foreign Minister resolved to continue to work together to counter terrorism, to support efforts to bring about a lasting peace in Yemen, and to promote stability, security, de-escalation, and integration in the region. The two sides pledged to continue their strong cooperation to end the fighting in Sudan,” the spokesman said.

As the doomed Corporal Hicks pointed out 30 mins before being eaten by an Alien (Aliens 1896) “I feel safer already.”

Are Washington and Beijing about to re-establish direct bilateral ties? No FW.

Biden and Chinese Forever Chairman Xi Jinping agreed at the G20 summit in Bali in November to try to set a “floor” under the relationship, but their efforts were derailed by the balloon episode.

Speaking at the G7 summit in Hiroshima last month as President Xi made a terrifying public spectacle of the love he has for Putin’s hate , Biden waffled on about his expectations for an imminent “thaw” in US China ties.

There’s been movement. But the Chinese Foreign Ministry have reports to write about how they’re having a crack, real or not.

Last month, the US national security adviser Jake Sullivan enjoyed a weekend in Vienna getting skinned alive with a butter knife and a chisel, by China’s top man in the Foreign Ministry the Arch Chiseler Wang Yi. .

The US is also trying to arrange a telephone call between Biden and Xi to ‘create momentum after months of little progress,’ says the FT, but now they’ve banned each other’s top tech its been a bit of a hassle.

CIA director Bill Burns made a secret trip to Beijing in May the FT claimed last week that, making him the most senior Biden administration official to visit China. His trip came at China’s invitation, according to two people familiar with the matter.

It also came as JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon (and Elon Musk) got the red carpet treatment in Beijing (as well as Taipei for Dimon.)

The JPM man who is starting to sound more political than ever  came back to the states having arranged for reporters to brief, as if he were the actual US Secretary of State.

And he thinks America is doing just great. China’s not an enemy was the message, they’re just a source of more wealth and power.

“We have the most prosperous economy the world has ever seen. We got very good demographics, all the (dunno… “foodborne”?) energy we need. No war in North America, South America… We got the Atlantic and the Pacific, the world’s strongest military, take a deep breath,” Dimon said.

“The Biden administration is on the right track when confronting the growing problem with adversary China.”

“I think they’re doing the right things. They’re getting a lot of help from the business community about what’s the right way to do without damaging American international businesses, Dimon said in Washington after meetings on the Hill.

“They (China) are not a 10-foot giant. “We’ve both made some mistakes in the past. Let’s just fix it going forward.”

So my money’s on money actually breaking the ice. That’s something everyone agrees on.