Those were sharp words. “Let me make it clear that the United States will remain an active, committed partner in the Middle East,” Biden said at the Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The US president added his message with a clear statement: “We will not go far and leave a void to be filled by China, Russia or Iran.”
It seems like determination and a return to an area to which the United States hardly pays any attention. However, it is probably too late for that. The void created by the superpower’s move towards the Pacific in the Middle East has long been filled by geo-strategic rivals.
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Both Moscow and Beijing are increasing their influence day by day. Weapons are distributed, gas and oil are distributed and anti-Western coalitions are forged. America remains there only as an extra.
Even the original term of Biden’s visit consistently illustrates Washington’s dilemma: The US president came as a solicitor. The actual destination of his tour was not Israel, but oil-rich Saudi Arabia.
Monarchy doesn’t want America to lecture her on human rights
The UK is in demand as an energy supplier, as a country that can help the United States obtain cheaper gasoline prices and thus succeed Biden by increasing production volumes. But the monarchy of the Gulf abandoned the 79-year-old reprimand. There were vague declarations of intent, but no concrete commitment.
How America’s weakness leads to strength elsewhere can also be seen in the case of the heir to the Saudi throne. Until recently, Mohammed bin Salman was justified in being responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Biden himself called him a stranger.
It is not forgotten, but basically forgiven. Saudi Arabia is very important as a producer of black gold. The war of Russian aggression against Ukraine made the desert state again a sought-after partner in no time. Who is well aware of its importance. On the subject of human rights, the Crown Prince told a guest from Washington that “imposing values” would be counterproductive.
Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia: autocrats among themselves
Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin and Chinese ruler Xi Jinping don’t hesitate to ask questions that bother bin Salman. This helps the two communicate more easily for the Saudi Crown Prince. Especially since all three gentlemen are united by their autocratic attitude.
And Biden? The Middle East will soon be a thing of the past. On Tuesday Putin, who is really powerful in the region, is traveling to Tehran. There it will be about weapons and alliances. America is nothing more than a place on the bench.