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US Ought to Focus On Financial Diplomacy In The Center East – OpEd

4 min read

By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh*

Whereas geopolitical, army and safety points are crucial pillars of overseas coverage, the Biden administration might additionally improve its Center Japanese coverage by placing extra emphasis on financial improvement and relationships with its allies.

There was a substantial quantity of criticism of the Biden administration’s Center East coverage by the US Congress. These criticisms are principally anchored in safety, army and geopolitical issues. For instance, Senate Republican Chief Mitch McConnell in March delivered remarks on the Senate flooring concerning US overseas coverage, claiming that President Joe Biden’s “clumsy makes an attempt to chop and run from the Center East have decreased our presence,” including that “letting key friendships languish erodes our partnerships.” McConnell stated that this has undermined confidence within the US and is a “recipe for much less American affect, much less nationwide safety, and a vacuum that Russia and China could be delighted to fill.”

The historic China-brokered deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran that was introduced in March was additionally seen by some specialists, students and coverage analysts as an indication of declining US affect within the Center East. The settlement was a key improvement not solely by way of restoring ties between the Iranian authorities and Saudi Arabia, but additionally in lowering tensions and enhancing peace and safety within the area. Improved ties between Tehran and Riyadh might have a big affect on the area’s geopolitical and financial landscapes.

There has additionally been criticism of the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. Some folks considered the August 2021 withdrawal as being poorly deliberate, because the Taliban swiftly took over the nation and army tools value billions of {dollars}, paid for by US taxpayers, was left behind. Moreover, in terms of the Joint Complete Plan of Motion, generally often called the Iran nuclear deal, the Biden administration has failed to attain a political victory, as a number of rounds of negotiations ended with none concrete progress towards a everlasting decision.

However the Biden administration nonetheless has the time and alternative to attain political victories with respect to its Center East coverage if it concentrates extra on financial developments.

The US has a protracted historical past of using financial diplomacy in several components of the world, together with in Europe and Latin America, with nice success. The State Division states that it locations economics and market forces “on the heart of US overseas coverage. Financial diplomacy means each harnessing international financial forces to advance America’s overseas coverage and using the instruments of overseas coverage to shore up our financial energy.”

Such a realistic strategy and a shift towards financial development between the US and Center Japanese nations would probably serve the US nationwide curiosity, in addition to improve peace, safety and stability within the area.

There are a number of areas that the US can deal with. Commerce and long-term investments in some Center Japanese nations’ infrastructure and expertise are very important. Constructive partnerships can be present in different areas, together with local weather change, renewables and the photo voltaic business. Biden has steadily made a lot of his environmental intentions. If we recall, in his preliminary flurry of govt orders on taking workplace, a return to the Paris Settlement on local weather change was one among his most distinguished selections. The president clearly sees inserting local weather change excessive on the agenda as a vote winner, particularly amongst youthful, extra liberal-minded voters. In the meantime, some nations within the area, together with Saudi Arabia, are main the way in which on this difficulty. Local weather change is an apparent alternative for shared financial improvement between the US and Gulf nations.

One of many causes for China’s growing position within the Center East is its emphasis on financial improvement reasonably than army landscapes. As Andrew Bacevich — a retired military officer, professor of worldwide relations and historical past at Boston College and president of the Quincy Institute for Accountable Statecraft in Washington — has pointed out: “What’s it, do we expect, that China is intent on doing within the Center East? Do we expect that they may create a big community of army bases? I’m guessing no. I believe they’ve two bases in the entire world exterior of China. Are they energetic by way of funding and financial improvement? You guess they’re. Is that an area through which we must always compete? I’d say sure. We wish to outline competitors in army phrases. I believe that the Chinese language outline competitors by way of commerce and funding.”

China has robust commerce and financial relationships with Saudi Arabia and different Center Japanese nations past its oil imports. Beijing has additionally dedicated itself to a big funding in Iran. In 2021, China and the Iranian authorities signed a 25-year strategic partnership deal, which is now within the early levels of implementation.

On this period of globalization, financial developments seem to have grow to be extra necessary than army energy in terms of selling peace and enjoying a key position on the world stage.

In a nutshell, the Biden administration must focus extra on financial developments within the Center East, together with investments in infrastructure, technological fields and renewable power. This won’t solely serve the US’ nationwide pursuits, but additionally promote safety, stability and peace within the area. And because the US ratchets up its financial developments within the Center East, this can probably improve its diplomatic engagements and its position within the area consequently.

  • Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist. Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh
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