America is losing its friends and influence in the world

US president's Obama's and Biden's approach to foreign policy pushed the Middle East and the American security system into the abyss, writes Ahmad Abdel-Rahman.

A few days ago, White House National Security Affairs spokesman John Kirby announced that president Joe Biden would re-evaluate the relationship with Saudi Arabia in the wake of the "OPEC +" announcement to reduce oil production. Kirby's speech was preceded by an announcement by Senator Robert Menendez, in which he said that Saudi Arabia contributes to "financing Putin's war" through "OPEC +". He added: "As the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I will not give the green light to any cooperation with Riyadh before Saudi Arabia reassesses its attitude towards the war in Ukraine."

Commenting on this, Muhammad Khaled Al-Yahya, a Saudi writer and researcher said: "As a Saudi who loves the US and deeply believes in the need of our two countries for each other, I can only describe this contemporary concept of 're-evaluation' as terrible."

Syria

The Obama administration gave Vladimir Putin a foothold in the eastern Mediterranean and touted its move to its own citizens as a move to "de-escalate" the Syrian civil war.  The policy pursued by the White House over the past decade of courting Putin and offering him Crimea, and the warm water ports in Syria in exchange for saving Iran and US allies such as Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states continues. Last month, when Iranian drones and missiles operated by the Russian military bombed Kyiv, Riyadh used its diplomatic power to free American and British prisoners of war from Putin's prisons.

America has pursued Iranian groups and the Russian air force. The Biden administration has also funneled tens of billions into Iranian funds, under the nuclear deal with Tehran that used these dollars to destroy Iraq, wreck Syria, and sow chaos in Lebanon. In addition, there is the threat to Saudi territory from Yemen, where Iranian missile attacks on Saudi oil facilities have become almost routine.

Over the course of seven years, the Saudi government witnessed the atrocities committed or contributed by the Russian military in Syria against unarmed civilians, including the use of chemical weapons. Riyadh did not hesitate to denounce the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Unlike many in the West who expected a short and easy war, Riyadh and Israel understood Putin's real capabilities.

Yet none of the efforts by the West have been at America's expense. Even when countries that had borne the burden of American experiences for two decades gathered, the US has not intervened. Although countries in the region hope to achieve unprecedented levels of political and economic normalization, these countries have always sought to appreciate the role America has played in their defense and to achieve peace in the region.

The countries of the Middle East felt pain and danger when Biden arrived at the White House in January 2021, promising to "re-evaluate the relationship with Saudi Arabia" and "marginalize the role of the Saudi crown prince and increase pressure on the royal family to find a more sober alternative, "to make the Saudis pay the price" of the mistakes made and to make it a "pariah state".

Today, the US claims that it will have to "re-evaluate" its relationship with Saudi Arabia again, apparently due to the "OPEC +" rejection of President Biden's requests over the past few months. By doing a deal with Saudi Arabia he hopes to raise his chances in the upcoming US elections, by bringing down the oil price.

In addition to the damage that the Obama and Biden eras have inflicted on Saudi Arabia on rhetoric, diplomacy, and security, the Biden administration has also chosen to wage war on carbon-based energy sources, It has not come up with a realistic proposition about how to manage the energy transition.

The Green New Deal appears to be a naive illusion promoted by members of Congress who lack seriousness and do not understand how the American and global economies work. It is a serious deal, however. It was and remains a strategy aimed at handing control of both fossil fuels and clean energy technologies to the Russians and the Chinese.

All this is added to the hypocritical behavior of this administration. The call to stop the use of fossil fuels and expel Russia from global energy markets is not too strange but making this call while continuing to buy energy from Russia is not only strange, but it is also hypocritical.

In April 2022, about a month after the start of the Ukraine war and after the West imposed sanctions on Russia, American imports of Russian oil set a record. Most recently, the Financial Times reported: "European countries have paid Russia over €100 billion for fossil fuels since the start of the invasion of Ukraine."

Throughout this period, the US administration has publicly rebuked Saudi Arabia and its other allies in the Gulf for not taking sufficient measures against Russia. This performance did not convince Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Delhi, Moscow or Kyiv, and according to some opinion polls, it was not convincing for a number of American voters either.

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Saturday, 04 February 2023