Decline of U.S. Influence in the Middle East

Emerging countries that aspire to create a new multilateral international order are taking proactive steps and are no longer satisfied with merely reacting, according to Nader al-Omari in al-Watan.

It is not possible to make any theoretical assumptions about the collapse of a country that is still the global economy’s largest player, with an estimated GDP share of over 27%. The country also has foreign investments amounting to $2.6 trillion, owns 867 military bases in over 70 countries, allocates 2.74% of its national income to scientific research and development in various fields, and is a leader in many advanced industries in technology, health, and other areas. Therefore, it is difficult to predict the possibility of such a country collapsing.

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It is more accurate to say that American influence is experiencing a decline, particularly in the Middle East and significant areas of Asia. This decline is not a recent or sudden development but rather a result of emerging countries, led by China and Russia, and other political actors’ eagerness to avoid American influence. These countries demand a multipolar and multi-power international system where they can be partners with American administrations in managing the system.

Emerging countries that aspire to create a new multilateral international order are taking proactive steps and are no longer satisfied with merely reacting. This is reflected in several expressive images, such as:  

First: The efforts made by the Russian Federation to establish the “Astana track” to resolve the Syrian crisis.   

Second: Firmness in the Russian position to confront the expansion of NATO in Ukraine, as this conflict has become one of the most important factors that will contribute to changing the nature and shape of the international system.   

Third: Emerging countries are resorting to the formation of economic alliances with geostrategic dimensions, such as BRICS, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and Shanghai, to find a formula for integrated and monetary economic cooperation. These alliances aim to reduce American influence and agree on dealing with national currencies. This is because they are unable to diversify the basket of international currencies or find a new currency that can compete with the dollar or reduce its role.

Fourth: In the Middle East, Russian and Chinese efforts have been directed toward achieving regional balance and expanding their influence by launching initiatives aimed at resolving conflicts between regional powers. These initiatives include the Russian and Chinese mediation of the Saudi-Iranian rapprochement, the Russian-Iranian efforts to resolve the Turkish-Syrian dispute, and the Emirati-Russian role in the potential return of Syrian-Saudi relations. While the latter may start with the resumption of consular services and a ministerial visit at the foreign level, it will require the right conditions and environment to mature. These initiatives aim to defuse conflicts and promote stability in the region while reducing American influence and increasing Russian and Chinese involvement.  

The recent changes mentioned above may accelerate the decline of American influence in the region, but they only represent immediate and tactical attempts. To take more significant steps towards reducing American influence, political will is required, along with the provision of capabilities to receive any potential American reaction. While American influence in the region has declined compared to the Russian and Chinese influence, it is still influential and strong. This is due to the presence of American bases in the region, along with its economic and capitalist hegemony, as well as other soft power influences. Moreover, there are still allies in the region who maintain a strategic relationship with Washington.

 

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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