For decades, the Middle East and Western Asia were the focal points of US defence and foreign policy. However, in the era of great power competition and uncertain policy from the White House, the US risks ceding its traditional alliances and hard power in the region to Russian and Chinese interests.
Since Kissinger, the US fostered and supported their regional allies with cutting-edge military technology, defence assurances as well as soft-power – facilitating the competitive control of their allies and advancing US interests. This policy soon morphed into a more brazen exercise of undertaking regime changes in hostile territories, and then into broad counterinsurgency operations.
However, the haphazard evacuation of allied troops from Afghanistan and the pivot in public discourse toward Russia and China has left a perceived vacuum in the region. This perception will both guarantee that America’s traditional allies will second guess US military might, and potentially join the Russian-Chinese sphere of influence fearing American apathy.
To combat this, the US requires clear and direct messaging to both their allies and adversaries in the region to ensure that the US does not cede regional interests…. (more)