Friday, December 27, 2013
US foreign policy leaves a void in the Middle East
It was Aristotle who first coined the saying that has come down to us as 'Nature abhors a vacuum'. He was speaking of the physical world, but the saying has been applied to almost every area of human life. It certainly applies to politics.
The USA has seemingly abandoned old friends and allies in the Middle East, following the shambolic and dysfunctional foreign policy directed by President Obama. It's already had profound effects, as we've noted in these pages before. To name but one example, Saudi Arabia apparently feels like it's been stabbed in the back by the Obama administration - as well it might. If I lived there, I'd feel the same. Many of the Gulf States apparently feel likewise.
This is having foreseeable - indeed, inevitable - consequences. The USA has been the guarantor of peace and stability in the Middle East for two to three decades now - but that's at an end. Few, if any Middle Eastern leaders now trust the United States. As a result, they're trying to mend fences and build new relationships that they feel have a better chance of guaranteeing their security, and that of the region. They're looking all over for allies - and finding them. The only problem from a US perspective is, they're not finding them here, and we no longer have nearly as much influence over what occurs there. Indeed, with a very strange alliance now brewing between Israel and the Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia - traditionally bitter foes - who knows what the future may hold? If war comes to the region, all of those nations might find themselves united in telling this country to get the hell out of it.
If Saudi Arabia decides it's time to become a nuclear state - as we've discussed before - we'll have little influence to stop them. If other states decide to follow suit, the same applies. All we'll be able to do is bleat ineffectually from the sidelines while the nations concerned blithely ignore us and go their own way. Even the dollar's status as a petrocurrency is now in serious jeopardy - and if the Fed and the Treasury succeed in devaluing it any further, it may also lose its status as the world's reserve currency (follow each of those three links for some interesting evidence of what's happening).
President Obama has a lot for which to answer.