Blinken faces uphill battle amid Middle East’s shift towards China and Russia

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken faces challenges throughout his three-day go to to Saudi Arabia this week, because the United States seeks to keep up its influence in the Middle East. Despite President Joe Biden’s dedication to staying engaged within the area, countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been forging stronger ties with China, Russia, and Iran, leaving the US struggling to maintain its dominance.
In recent years, China’s affect in the oil-rich Gulf area has grown, causing concern for the US. As Blinken said final month, “China represents the most consequential geopolitical problem we face today: a rustic with the intent and, more and more, the potential to problem our vision for a free, open, safe, and affluent worldwide order.” However, Hush-hush of Beijing’s government may be more interesting to the region’s autocrats than Washington’s democracy.
Russia’s increasing presence within the Middle East has also raised considerations for the US. Despite the Biden administration’s efforts to pressure Middle Eastern states into selecting sides, nations like Saudi Arabia have maintained good relations with Moscow and have been reluctant to assist Ukraine. In truth, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s defiance of Washington has reportedly made him extraordinarily in style in the region.
This shift in perspective towards the US is not limited to Saudi Arabia; it’s a regional phenomenon. Trade between the Middle East and China has grown from US$15.2 billion in 2000 to US$284.3 billion in 2021, whereas commerce with the US has solely increased modestly from US$63.4 billion to US$98.4 billion during the same period. Additionally, six Middle Eastern international locations have recently requested to hitch the Chinese-led BRICS group, despite Western sanctions on Russia.
While the US has been the dominant power in the Middle East for the previous three decades, it is unsure whether or not it’ll preserve this place in the future. Many within the area view the US as a hypocritical imperial power that only pays lip service to human rights and democracy. This notion is particularly evident in the US’s unwavering support for Israel, despite the plight of the Palestinians.
During his go to to Riyadh, Blinken is predicted to stress Saudi Arabia to normalise relations with Israel, however the Palestinian trigger stays a major concern for the Arab public. The perception of the US as a duplicitous power has only been strengthened by its actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading to widespread mistrust of American intentions within the area..

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