Disengagement: Is that going to be the future of US strategy in the Middle East?

Next year, a new president with a new administration will be in charge of US foreign policy toward the vital region of the Middle East. A region currently ravaged by an incredible number of conflicts and tensions, including the ones in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

A lively debate has been going on for some time between supporters of a policy of US engagement in the region versus those advocating for a policy of disengagement. The so-called Obama Doctrine has been often criticized for being too ‘hands-off’ with regard to the Middle East.

In this article on the Cairo Review of Global Affairs, the author concludes by stating the ‘American disengagement’ from the region is just a ‘fantasy’.

He further argues that

It’s understandable that President Obama harbored a fantasy of washing his hands of the whole mess. The United States failed to achieve its goals in Iraq and Afghanistan despite killing many people and committing a great deal of resources. The results in Libya are more equivocal and America’s responsibility more broadly shared, but hardly make a case for successful U.S. intervention.

But the alternative to reckless interventionism cannot realistically be disengagement. The region’s conflicts implicate the United States and plenty of other foreign powers, along with the whole ethnic, sectarian and ideological panoply of a region that, despite generations of ethnic cleansing, hosts a staggering amount of diversity. America bears heavy responsibility as Israel’s guarantor power, which inextricably ties Washington to Israel’s conflicts with Palestinians and other regional players.

The full article can be read here

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