US no longer the world’s policeman
We must recognize that the Middle East has never been an area of great stability. Areas of lawlessness and rogue states have multiplied since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the disasters that followed. Unfortunately we all know the dramatic consequences for not only the region and its people, but for the whole world.
Today Iraq asserts itself as a free country having conquered terrorism and, after the elections of 2018, things seem to have resumed a normal course. It’s almost miraculous.
Meanwhile, unpredictable US President Donald Trump, not content with ruining the policies of his predecessor (even though Barack Obama made his own mistakes in the region), distills a foreign policy full of contempt for multilateralism. He shows to the world at every available opportunity that he doesn’t care about diplomacy.
The US certainly does not want to be the world’s policeman anymore. In such a dangerous world, this brings the opposite of stability and security.
The Trump administration unsurprisingly marked the US’ unconditional support of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by moving, in defiance of international law, the US embassy to Jerusalem, denying the rights of the Palestinian people. It then imposed a fait accompli policy once more by deciding to take the US out of the Iran nuclear agreement and restore sanctions.
The US is using duplicity toward its allies, but is that any good for peace and stability?
In the mess we have just witnessed during Christmas week, there have been some stupendous decisions whose concomitance cannot be due to chance. After announcing the unilateral withdrawal of US troops from Syria, leaving the country in the hands of the Russians, Turks and Iranians, and abandoning the Kurds, the Trump administration trumpeted the decision of US ally Saudi Arabia to contribute to the reconstruction of this moribund country. For their part, Turkey and Iran announced on Dec. 20 an agreement to help meet the target of more than $30 billion.
All this must be closely examined. It can be recalled that, with Trump’s grace, US ally and NATO member Turkey has been allowed to continue trading with Iran, despite the latest sanctions. At the same time, Saudi Arabia is committed to rebuilding Syria, as President Bashar Assad declared that Iranian companies will play a major role in rebuilding the country.
The US is using duplicity toward its allies, but is that any good for peace and stability? Should we fear a new theater for a fight between Saudi Arabia and Iran? Washington should know that international politics is made up of precarious balances and that it has a leading role in shaping it.
Meanwhile, this new American policy shows up Europe’s extreme fragility and its inability to stand together and defend itself.
It is high time that the EU’s funds for security and defense were used to put in place a coherent and effective policy. This will be a major subject of discussion in the upcoming European elections and must be at the top of the list of candidates’ concerns.
Europe must prepare for other Trumpian tsunamis and ensure its independence and security. What is happening in Syria and the Middle East should serve as a warning. It must find a way to recover its military and diplomatic sovereignty.
- Nathalie Goulet is a member of the Senate of France, representing the Orne department (Normandy). Twitter: @senateur61