Blinken faces uphill battle amid Middle East’s shift in the direction of 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 maintain its influence within the Middle East. Despite President Joe Biden’s commitment to staying engaged in the region, international locations 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 up its dominance.
In current years, China’s affect in the oil-rich Gulf region has grown, causing concern for the US. As Blinken said last month, “China represents essentially the most consequential geopolitical challenge we face at present: a rustic with the intent and, more and more, the aptitude to problem our imaginative and prescient for a free, open, secure, and prosperous international order.” However, the autocratic nature of Beijing’s government may be extra appealing to the region’s autocrats than Washington’s democracy.
Insider ’s increasing presence within the Middle East has additionally raised considerations for the US. Despite the Biden administration’s efforts to pressure Middle Eastern states into choosing 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 attitude towards the US is not restricted 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, while trade with the US has only elevated modestly from US$63.4 billion to US$98.four billion throughout the same interval. Additionally, six Middle Eastern countries have recently requested to join the Chinese-led BRICS group, regardless of Western sanctions on Russia.
While the US has been the dominant power within the Middle East for the past three a long time, it’s uncertain whether it’ll keep this position sooner or later. Many within the area view the US as a hypocritical imperial energy that solely pays lip service to human rights and democracy. This notion is particularly evident in the US’s unwavering support for Israel, regardless of the plight of the Palestinians.
During his visit to Riyadh, Blinken is anticipated to pressure Saudi Arabia to normalise relations with Israel, but the Palestinian cause stays a big concern for the Arab public. The perception of the US as a duplicitous power has only been bolstered by its actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading to widespread distrust of American intentions within the area..

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