Home Liberal We Must Reduce the American Role in the Middle East (Counterpunch)

We Must Reduce the American Role in the Middle East (Counterpunch)


We Must Reduce the American Role in the Middle East – By Melvin Goodman (Counterpunch) / Sept 6, 2023

The U.S. preoccupation with the Middle East over the past six decades has been a costly endeavor with little benefit. The traditional twin pillars of U.S. policy in the region have been relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia. Relations with Israel have been complicated due to domestic pressures on U.S. administrations that prevent a forthright approach to dealing with Israel. As a result, the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty in the 1960s was handled duplicitously by the administration of Lyndon Johnson. Relations with Saudi Arabia are dependent on U.S. energy requirements, and Saudi influence in the OPEC arena. As a result, Saudi’s responsibility for the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, war crimes in Yemen, and the brutalization of Ethiopian migrants on the Saudi-Yemeni border have been ignored.

There has never been a significant foreign threat to U.S. national security interests throughout this period, and the United States could distance itself from the region without injury to U.S. national security policy. The Soviet Union lost its limited role in the region in the 1970s, when the United States dominated diplomacy after the October War of 1973. Russia has developed an important role with limited assets in Syria, but the Assad regime rules a failed state that shows no signs of revival. Russia’s relations with Iran bear watching, but they are based for the most part on mutual weakness—Russia due to military setbacks in Ukraine, and Iran because of its political and economic backwardness. The failure of Vladimir Putin’s grandiose schemes for Ukraine will have negative reverberations for Russia in the Middle East as elsewhere.

China has wisely avoided military investments in the Middle East, but still is in position to exercise influence in the region over the long term. China recently stole a march on the United States in shepherding a diplomatic reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran, but there are limits to the accord between the hostile Gulf neighbors as well as limits to Beijing’s influence due to its dependence on Gulf energy supplies. As long as the Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, have significant control over the global price for oil, there will be a rivalry for influence among the United States, China, and Russia.

CONTINUE > https://www.counterpunch.org/2023/09/06/we-must-reduce-the-american-role-in-the-middle-east/



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here