Home » Diplomacy » As the West disengages from the Middle East, regional diplomacy must flourish

As the West disengages from the Middle East, regional diplomacy must flourish

by John Brian Shannon | October 29, 2014

UN Diplomacy image courtesy of the United Nations.

Image courtesy of the United Nations.

The parents are leaving, but the kids are staying behind

‘The parents’ — meaning the U.S. and Europe (creators of the modern day Middle East via the Sykes-Picot agreement) are disengaging from the Middle East, albeit in very slow motion.

Israel, in particular, may be glad to see the United States go. In fact, some Israeli politicians can hardly wait, it seems.

Which all in all, can be a very good thing, as without the parents around the Middle East nations will be forced to ‘grow up’ and handle their own affairs instead of (call them what you will) former colonial powers handling their disputes for them.

“Netanyahu, and the even more hawkish ministers around him, seem to have decided that their short-term political futures rest on a platform that can be boiled down to this formula: “The whole world is against us. Only we can protect Israel from what’s coming.”

For an Israeli public traumatized by Hamas violence and anti-Semitism, and by fear that the chaos and brutality of the Arab world will one day sweep over them, this formula has its charms. But for Israel’s future as an ally of the United States, this formula is a disaster.” — The Atlantic

Very unsurprisingly, this is happening at exactly the same speed as the oil economy/petrodollar stranglehold on the world economy weakens.

As domestic oil and gas in the U.S. and Europe move to displace Middle East oil, as China’s economy outpaces the U.S. economy (2017 at the latest) and as renewable energy somewhat displaces petroleum — all of these will conspire to lower the overall importance of the petrodollar economy.

As that timeline unfolds, the relative importance of Saudi Arabia and other oil rich nations to the U.S. and Europe will diminish, hence Israel will become less important, and instead of being treated as ‘special nations’ the lot of them will increasingly be treated by the West in the same as any (non-oil rich) nation.

It’s is an ongoing process. It is a healthy process. And it should be seen as a positive process. No doubt, it could become a dangerous time for the Middle East region — if handled clumsily.

But as time goes by, the interests of all Middle Eastern nations should coincide and regional politics will become as they could and should have been — were it not for post-colonial powers imposing their views on the region for the past 100 years.

If the people of the Middle East (including Israel) are as good as they think they are, then this will become the blessing of all blessings for Arab and Israeli citizens alike.

Let’s see if they’re as good as they think they are. If they’re not, they will eventually blow each other off the face of the planet.

Either way, the U.S. and the EU are ‘leaving’ the region, and the people of the Middle East will have to find their own way forward. Let’s hope it’s peaceful.

My hope is that all nations in the region begin to include ‘diplomacy’ as a mandatory course in schools (K-12) and that governments there start to build Middle East-centric universities, ones that specialize in diplomatic education relative to the region so that as time rolls forward younger generations will be well-prepared to solve the unique, but very solvable problems of the region.

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