Divergence and convergence of policies between allies is a natural thing that has been happening throughout history and geography, and the nature of relations between the Gulf states and the US was rooted in an alliance that resulted in major achievements over decades, however, during the past year and a half, this relationship witnessed a state of uncertainty and ambivalence after Washington indicated its desire to reduce its role in the region.
After the US abandoned the Gulf allies through this isolationist vision, they were forced to act to protect their interests and take the initiative.
The energy policies led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the historic Negev summit between Israel and several Arab countries, and the armistice in Yemen, were all manifestations of efforts to rebalance power regionally and internationally.
The message was clear, if America is not concerned with the interests, security, and stability of its allies, then its allies will not be concerned with an alliance that has lost its benefits, and a power that has lost its compass.
The recent major global events have created a state of “return of political awareness” in the administration of President Biden, which finally realized that abandoning the Middle East and not considering it a priority is not a realistic or logical strategy, and that the security of Southeast Asia and the Pacific is by no means more important than the Middle East.
The power of logic and political realism ultimately ruled the divergence of positions and policies at a crucial stage in the history of the region and the world, and the strength of logic and decision followed by the Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, directly affected the setbacks and course corrections that the US administration followed.
The US is a living country capable of reflection and course corrections, and it did when the White House announced an upcoming visit of US President Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia in the middle of this month, during which a Gulf Arab-American summit will be held in Riyadh to discuss urgent files on the security and stability of the region.
Even though the reconsideration of the policy pursued by Washington towards the countries of the region is a good thing, it is not only about the American will, but rather the will and interests of the countries of the region, so it requires a frank and transparent dialogue.
This dialogue should be focused on two points, the first of which is respecting the privacy of the Gulf States and avoiding arrogant discourse. The other aspect, which is just as important, is finding a common vision on the region’s issues, starting with the Iranian nuclear file and the need to involve the countries of the region in negotiations over it, as they are affected by its results, and up to the war in Yemen and the search for a common vision away from the tense electoral rhetoric, as well as the topics of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and others.
The long relationship between the Arab Gulf states and the US needs to be built on deeper foundations, written commitments, and treaties that will last for a long time in the future, for the benefit of both sides, and to avoid any disturbances that may arise in the region and the world.
The contradictions of US policy and its disregard for its major allies in the region must officially stop to ensure that they don’t repeat the same mistakes and sins.