The Middle East Institute is proud to host MEI scholar Thomas W. Lippman for a discussion of his new book, Saudi Arabia on the Edge: The Uncertain Future of an American Ally. Of all the countries that are vital to the strategic and economic interests of the United States, Saudi Arabia is the least understood by the American people. Today's Saudis, far better informed than previous generations, are looking for new political institutions that will enable them to be heard, but these aspirations conflict with the kingdom's strict traditions and with the House of Saud's determination to retain power. Meanwhile, the country wishes to remain under the protection of American security but still clings to a system that is antithetical to American values. Basing his work on extensive interviews and field research conducted in the kingdom from 2008 through 2011, Thomas W. Lippman dissects this central Saudi paradox.