It's Time to Cast Aside Bad Client States
These relationships aren’t worth repairing and rebuilding.
Walter Russell Mead will always find some way to defend the bankrupt status quo:
The creation of a Middle East alliance network including both Arabs and Israelis that preserved vital American interests at limited cost was one of the great American achievements of the Cold War. Grave 21st-century errors by Republican and Democratic presidents alike endangered that achievement. Mr. Putin’s war gives President Biden a historic opportunity to rebuild—at a price.
The war in Ukraine has reminded the administration that the Middle East is vital to American security and to the health of the global system Americans hope to defend. The question is whether the administration can break from the failed Obama and early Biden policies and construct a realistic framework for renewed American primacy in the Middle East.
There has never been a real alliance network in the Middle East, and it was hardly an achievement for the U.S. to entangle itself with a bunch of unreliable client states that have done little or nothing to advance and defend American interests, vital or otherwise. The war in Ukraine has had at least one salutary effect of showing just how useless these relationships are to the U.S. These relationships aren’t worth repairing and rebuilding. Their interests and ours have been diverging for a long time, and in the last decade the gap between them has become impossible to ignore.