Sooner or later, the US administration will have to change its policy in the Middle East

This post was published in VPK. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.


MOSCOW, (BM) – Chaos and conflicts in the Near and Middle East are a graphic illustration of the failure of the US administration’s foreign policy, regardless of who is in the White House today. Over the past two decades, the United States has poured into the creation of Pax Americana here and, as President Trump testified, as of December 2017, the United States spent $ 7 trillion on operations in the Middle East.

More American troops have died in Iraq than in any other war since the Vietnam War. However, the current state of the region is deplorable, and the influence of the United States in it is shrinking like pebbled skin.

It would seem that the time has come for a serious revision of guidelines and priorities, and not only for correcting the mistakes of the Trump administration. This administration brought it to its logical conclusion and eventually ran into an impasse of everything that underlies the approach of previous administrations to the region.

The fix has always been that the United States should use its diplomacy, economic and military power on the side of those countries and politicians in the region that are considered kind and friendly to America, in order to ensure superiority or domination over those who are recorded as evil and unfriendly. … Simply put, the division into good and bad guys. Like westerns.

Such an approach could be justified in response to serious threats to the world and to the United States itself from those seeking hegemony in the Middle East, but such a threat does not really exist. In the world media, it is Tehran that is most often referred to as a country supporting terror throughout the world and as a player striving to become the main one in the region.

But let’s look at it with sober eyes – militarily, he is inferior to several of his opponents at once and, in addition, he has one incurable drawback: Iran is a Shiite island in the Sunni Arab world and does not pull the role of hegemon. There is no need to dream of dominating with such militarily strong and ambitious neighbors as Turkey and Egypt. Tehran is accused of violating voluntary commitments under the JCPOA, forgetting to name the reason: the US withdrawal from the agreement in 2018 and the buildup of unilateral sanctions, as well as the inability of the West to fulfill its obligations and comply with the economic interests of Iran stipulated in the agreement arising from restrictions on its nuclear program and the conversion of nuclear facilities.

Now calls are being heard from the United States to extend the arms export-import embargo on Iran, which expires in October, in order to calm its “destabilizing activity.” Against the backdrop of sales of tens of billions of dollars worth of arms to the US and Western countries, this looks pharisaic, to say the least. And the requirement, almost in the form of an ultimatum, for admission to some secret facilities by IAEA inspectors?

Back in 2019, Tehran proposed to expedite parliamentary approval of an additional protocol to the JCPOA, which gives the right to sudden and expanded inspections of its nuclear sites, in exchange for lifting unilateral US sanctions. So what? And absolutely nothing, the West thought it was irrelevant.

The US cowboy approach to solving the problems of the Middle East – with the division of countries and peoples into good and bad guys – cannot be called adequate to existing realities. The region is a veritable tangle of rivalries and conflicts: Sunnis versus Shiites, Arabs versus Israelis, Arabs versus Iranians, fundamentalists versus secular forces, and monarchies versus republics. It is almost impossible to establish a balance of power here if you stick to the old “gunboat diplomacy”.

Russia and Iran, on the one hand, fall under the definition of countries that are opponents of the United States, but on the other hand, both of these countries played a major role in defeating the jihad forces in Syria, it was they who averted the threat of creating a springboard here for terrorist attacks on the United States and Europe. … In other words, whether you like it or not, you have to talk, negotiate for a place under the burning Middle East sun.

However, the White House does not appear to have learned from its many failures. The US administration continues to build international relations on the “like it or not like it” principle. But politics is not a gourmet menu, and Americans cannot see a unipolar world as their ears. One way or another, but Washington’s current allies are increasingly confused: what will happen tomorrow if the interests of the US ruling elite undergo changes? Are you a friend today and a war criminal tomorrow?

On the other hand, the confidence of the US quasi-friends that they will always be supported in any endeavors prompts them to embark on adventures, the consequences of which are harmful to both US interests and regional security and stability. As an example – the plans to annex the territories of the western bank of the Jordan River.

This does not mean at all that Israel does not have legal historical rights to biblical lands, but it is necessary to act from a legal point of view, from the standpoint of modern international law, no matter how fragile and ineffective it may sometimes seem, taking into account the interests of its neighbors.

Traditionally, it is believed that the presence of American troops in the Middle East, pumping it up with the latest weapons, makes America and the region safer. This idea, simply put, is outdated and no longer holds true. It cannot be said that the United States does not understand the perniciousness of continuing the course taken by the current administration. Scientific centers are working on new principles for determining the national interests of the United States in a changed world.

Their reports, of course, end up on the tables of all those who influence decision-making and make decisions in the presidential administration and in Congress. They contain a full set of policy recommendations, including downsizing the US military overseas, supporting a new multilateral security architecture for the planet, normalizing US-Iranian relations, and diplomatic efforts to end the wars in Syria and Yemen. A new course is achievable if the United States can overcome old, stupid and ineffective views on the situation in the region, no less dangerous to the world than the coronavirus pandemic.


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