The Biden Administration’s Middle East foreign policy will be trickier than perceived
A seasoned foreign relations expert who served as US’ Senate Foreign Relations Committee, US President Joe Biden had envisaged a foreign policy that will focus on Asia to counter China’s influence and step back from the Middle East.
According to a report released in March 2021 by the Middle East Institute, the Biden administration faces many foreign policy changes, predicting that China will likely crowd out the Middle East for the new administration’s attention.
In the same vein, Daily Sabah has reported that the new US administration has declared its intention to follow a “de-Trumpization policy” in the Middle East, in reference to the policies pursued by Joe Biden’s predecessor. The paper pointed out that the Biden Administration “will likely roll out an institutional foreign policy in which there will be few fluctuations and surprises with the US expected to make personalistic foreign policy moves in the coming months”.
The axis of Middle East foreign policy
The US foreign policy in the Middle East mainly focuses on four countries, namely Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabic and Turkey.
In this vein, even though the new US administration had hoped to step back from the Middle East crisis, it has found itself mired in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza. In a recent article, BBC’s State Department Correspondent, Barbara Plett, has pointed out that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict gave Biden foreign policy a headache. Plett further explained that Israel’s airstrikes on Hamas forced the Middle East to Joe Biden’s agenda, adding that the Biden Administration has “adopted a low-key minimalist approach before the recent flare-up.”
With the resumption of nuclear talks between Iran and Western powers, including the United States, it is hoped that the two sides will see improved ties compared to the turbulent relationship under former President Donald Trump.
The new administration has emphasized the importance of the longstanding relationship with Turkey and is expected to attend to the security needs of Saudi Arabia.
Overall, the Biden administration stands to face challenges in reaching a balanced relationship with the region’s traditional powerhouses.