In retrospect however, Biden's Middle East visit did not achieve much. He failed to restore trust in the US, did not manage to establish personal contact with the younger leaders in the region, and he was not able to secure the needed oil production increase. Moreover, he did not win over support for the Ukraine war, and his attempts to build an "Arab NATO" (NATO-like Arab-Israeli air defense alliance) were unsuccessful. The only positive outcome was that he reached out to the Arab States, and made the trip despite all the severe domestic pushback back in Washington.
What about Israel's position on the war?
Israel’s position in the West - especially in Washington - is generally secure, no matter what they do. Israel has a large portion of Russian Jews who have considerable influence in Israeli politics, which explains why their government has refrained from publically blaming Russia. However, this does not excuse their behavior of not supporting Ukraine especially since Zelensky is Jewish. And while the West has little to say about Israel's silence, they have been quick to blame the UAE for their neutrality. The double standards in the Western media and international community as a whole is telling.
Everybody is assessing the possibility for a post US-dominated world order. To what extent has the war in Ukraine prompted this? How do you make sense of these conflicting perspectives, especially through the lens of the Global South? Would you say the Gulf is representative of that of the Global South?
Many democracies of the so-called Global South have come out in support of Russia and stood by Putin, as we have seen with Brazil, Indonesia, India and South Africa. This indicates either that Russia has successfully englobed these countries in its sphere of influence, or that the West failed in its quest to win over these states in the struggle of "democracy vs. autocracy". Framing the war in Ukraine and the conflict in Russia in this dichotomy was a mistake by the West. It left a large majority stuck in the middle.
This war, along with the Covid crisis and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, accelerated an already existing trend. However it is not the catalyst. There is a grand historical shift from America to Asia that has been playing out for a while. The center of global gravity is moving from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and the war in Ukraine is not directly related to this broader trend.
Finally, a new world order is in the making. The nature of this new system is a topic of debate. It could be bipolar, opposing China and the US, multipolar, with various global actors, or it could even be unipolar if the US pulls this one off and Russia ends up defeated. The traditional balance of power may well shift from a "superpower centric" world to a "continental centric" one (meaning Asia rising as a whole). You don’t have to have a unified continent to talk about a continent-based world system. If I had to bet, that’s the perspective I would bet on.
Copyright: MANDEL NGAN / AFP
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