The faces in America change, but foreign political orientations remain the same.
Even under contradictory presidents such as George W Bush, who was fond of waging wars, and the hesitant Barack Obama, American constants remained the same.
Foremost among these is the interest of America in managing the world as its sole policeman, with superior military, technological, and economic power, and, of course, the protection of Israel.
It is not entirely clear what the nuclear agreement with Iran will lead to during the Biden era, but American prestige is always required. The prestige that Obama insulted, and Trump restored. Did you notice that we no longer hear an Iranian threat by closing the Strait of Hormuz after Iran’s leaders knew how serious Donald Trump was in using American force?
Major changes have taken place in the region during the previous months, foremost of which is building near-normal relations between Bahrain, the UAE and Sudan with Israel. The aim is to preserve the security and stability of the region, and Israel has to convince the American administrations to accept a tolerant Arab world and stop any unexpected adventures that undermine the security of the region, no matter how well these are wrapped up in beautiful words about human rights and others.
We do not have to worry about changing American administrations, but rather about the wrong American understanding of the region. This is especially true when the resident of the White House thinks about dropping or imposing his dreams about democracy and human rights on our countries.
The US, France and other countries supported the Iranian revolution against the Shah in 1979, under the same flashy headlines related to freedom and deliverance from dictatorship.
Only the Russian intelligence at that time enjoyed a more accurate reading of the revolution’s reality and its consequences. They said it was a massive, popular revolution against injustice, but that it would inevitably be hijacked by the clergy. And this is exactly what happened, and everyone has paid the price for it, including the US.
US President-elect Biden has said that his presidential term will not be “Obama’s third term”. However, everything appears to indicate that he is an extension of Obama’s thinking and orientations, including most of the names he has chosen in his administration. I think that Biden should read Obama’s memoirs, The Promised Land, to learn from Obama’s mistakes.
He should pay special attention to what Obama mentioned about the call of Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. At that time the US administration, during the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ revolutions, put pressure on the late Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down without regarding the implications and repercussions these had on regional stability.
Obama wrote that Shaikh Mohammed said, “It appears that the US is not a partner we can count on in the long term.”
Obama writes: “It was not so much a request for help as it was a warning and I have no elegant way to explain the apparent contradiction, except by admitting that the world is a place of anarchy. And, when it comes to managing foreign policy, I must constantly balance competing interests, interests that are shaped by the choices of previous administrations, and new emergencies. What is more, in every case I have not been able to elevate the human rights agenda over other considerations. That does not mean that I should not try to do what I can, when I can, to promote what I consider the highest American values.”
The “highest American values” are valid in America only, but they fail miserably in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and the Arabian Gulf. Our tragedy is that every new American president tries to impose those values by himself on our region until he is convinced of their futility, but he leaves behind him ruins that people pay for.
The time has come for American and Western thinkers and theorists in general to produce a new, more comprehensive, and universal culture. One that takes into account human nature and the composition of societies outside the borders of their countries, and to be more modest and less ferocious, a culture of understanding and dialogue, not the culture of a “clash of civilisations” as described by Samuel Huntington.