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Biden Must Build on Trump’s Policies to Avoid Another Middle East Debacle


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“We have missed these 43 years of getting to know each other better, working together, and changing the narrative that many generations of Israelis and Arabs have been living. So it is time to catch up, to build a stronger relationship (…) creating a better environment for our businesses to work with each other: that is the way we can defeat the narrative of hatred, incitement, and terror. We will prevail, no doubt. It will cost us, but it matters. It matters to us, and we can do it,” Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) stated on March 28 at the Negev Summit.

The Trump administration and the UAE government cooperated closely on the Abraham Accords that achieved recognition of Israel by the Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco, and Kosovo. That opened up the possibility of a new Middle East. To achieve it, the Trump administration made a 180-degree turn to the policy that from 2009 to 2017 advanced the Obama administration towards the Middle East, which had already been a major coup de rudder, as it opted for the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran against its traditional allies.

The Failed Obama-Biden Foreign Policy

The results of the Obama era ranged from the overthrow in Egypt of Mubarak (followed by the brief government of the Muslim Brotherhood headed by Mohamed Morsi), to the overthrow of Gaddafi (a brutal tyrant after whose fall Libya has not resumed stability), and not to mention an unmanageable civil war in Syria (during which we have already seen the rise and fall of the ISIS caliphate, a terrorist force that is far from having disappeared).

In 2015, the Obama administration signed, with support from the European Union (EU) and Russia, a nuclear deal that allowed Iran, the largest official sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East, to advance its nuclear program. Under the cloak of the weak deal, Tehran continued its shadow military nuclear program, developed ballistic missiles, and sponsored terrorism throughout the region.

Trump Revamped Foreign Affairs

With another major coup, the Trump administration confronted Tehran, reached out to former allies, and began a long and complex negotiation that led to the Abraham Accords. Trump denounced Tehran’s advancing nuclear program and sponsorship of terrorism; withdrew from Obama’s failed nuclear deal; and unilaterally reinstated sanctions on Tehran. The new Middle East, led by the United States, the UAE, and Israel, was rapidly emerging.

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But Biden returned the rudder to Obama’s failed path, minimizing what had been achieved in the Abraham Accords and resuming the former Democratic president’s policy towards the Middle East, adopting as his main objective in the area the signing of a more dangerous nuclear agreement with Iran. As pointed out by columnist Bret Stephens, Biden has been negotiated through intermediaries as “reliable” for Washington as Moscow—which has provided Tehran with platforms to evade U.S. sanctions—and Beijing—whose strategic objective is to antagonize and displace Washington throughout the world in order to impose a new international order in its totalitarian image.

As long as the Biden administration insists on revisiting the failed policies of the Obama administration in the Middle East and refuses to build on the successes of the Trump administration’s policies, including the Abraham Accords, Washington will have less and less influence in a region of critical geostrategic importance.

Broad bipartisan consensuses are indispensable to the foreign policy of a great democratic power, but a Democratic Party radicalized by an influential ultra-left and neo-Marxist wing, most notably anti-Semitic figures such as Rep. Ilhan A. Omar (D-MN), has made bipartisan foreign policy consensuses impossible in order to advance the “democratic” socialism scam in the United States, at any cost.

The truth is that the White House cannot afford to pursue dubious short-term domestic objectives at the cost of destabilizing the Middle East, alienating its allies, strengthening its enemies, and making way for Beijing. But that is what it is doing now.

Guillermo Rodríguez is a professor of Political Economy in the extension area of the Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences at Universidad Monteávila, in Caracas. A researcher at the Juan de Mariana Center and author of several books // Guillermo es profesor de Economía Política en el área de extensión de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Administrativas de la Universidad Monteávila, en Caracas, investigador en el Centro Juan de Mariana y autor de varios libros

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