Joe Biden in the Middle East

‘US is a problem for the Arab World’

The debate on US foreign policy continues before, during and after President Joe Biden’s visit to the (Middle East) region. It continues in Washington and other capitals of the world, particularly after the Ukraine war. It is, of course, continuously discussed in the Middle East since the establishment of Israel in 1948, and then Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. Today, it is a policy which “needs to be formulated, not merely renewed or restored,” says Jessica Mathews, former president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. There is no way back to the era “before Trump, because America has changed and the world has also changed.” But Biden seems to be a prisoner of restoration and revival.

But the US was and still is part of the problem of the Arab world, even if it seems that it is leading to a solution. It is a double problem due to the Israeli occupation and Iranian expansion. In both cases, it has a role.

Today, Biden wants to assert its survival in the Middle East. But the West practised self-deception twice, once by betting on “transforming the hard-line Iranian regime to make it moderate through engagement,” as the Iranian-American expert Karim Sadjadpour says. And then by betting that “Chinese economic integration with the liberal global economic system will lead to political liberalism,” says Eliot Cohen, former Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

[by Rafik Khoury in Independent Arabia]

The “Obama Doctrine” with its methodology based on withdrawing from the Middle East is the major problem of American policies. Realism imposes that the withdrawal will result in major imbalances which will ravage the world.

It is the populism of the liberal left espoused by the Democrats in the US which has led the Obama and Biden administrations to pursue policies which conflict with allies. Biden did not need to start his visit to Saudi Arabia with an article in which he justified his political move towards one of Washington’s most important allies throughout history. This is an indication of the decline in popularity, the rise in the rate of inflation and the deteriorating economic situation, which affected the value of the dollar in the financial markets.

It was hoped that the US administration would exploit the achievements of the Trump administration, which succeeded in sponsoring the Abrahamic agreements between Israel and several Arab countries, by expanding the ring of normalisation. However, the bias took the Biden administration to a completely different path and missed an opportunity which was favourable to do what is important in the Middle East so that the issue can be resolved. The Palestinian Authority has an approach which seems very favourable if the Abrahamic agreements are expanded.

Biden is at the top of the tree from which it is not easy to come down. The reason for this is the liberal left movement. It may push the American citizens and their Western counterpart to lose what has been achieved politically and economically since the end of World War II, including the crucial US role in the world.

[by Hani Mashoor in Al-Arab, London]

Compiled and Translated by Faizul Haque

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