The new “Grand Bargain”

The latest issue (issued at the beginning of the new year 2024) of the American magazine Foreign Affairs includes  an important group of articles by senior American academics and politicians, as usual. The topic of the war on Gaza significantly dominated the articles and the main file of the magazine, which indicates the strategic importance of the region. The Middle East in American policy, even if the recent American administrations have tried to circumvent this fact for more than a decade.

One of the prominent articles that topped the new issue was entitled “The War That Remade the Middle East: How Washington Can Stabilize in a Transformed Region,” by Vali Nasr (the well-known American researcher, professor of advanced international studies at Johns Hopkins University, and author of many books famous, such as The Shiite  Revival, and Forces of Fortune: The rise of New Muslim Middle Class and what it will Mean to Our World) and Maria fantapple (Director of the Mediterranean, Middle East and African Studies Program at the Institute of International Affairs in Rome), in which the two well-known researchers call for a move towards a new American approach in the Middle East region, or what they called “ The “Grand Deal” that distances the region from the “brink of the abyss” it reached after the events of October 10.

The prominent feature, or rather the most prominent feature, in this proposed approach is the central and fundamental role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in shaping the next stage, and to be one of the most prominent players and the main partner of the United States of America in reaching the arrangement of a new regional order. The second feature is characterized by the transition to the liberal school of international relations as an alternative to the realist school, by focusing on the importance of regional cooperation, making deals and alliances, and the inclusion of all players, including Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, and Turkey, in the new regional order, in a way that reduces regional tensions, and comes out of the framework of The “zero-sum game” that has prevailed recently. The third feature is the restoration of consideration to the Palestinian issue as the cornerstone of any regional stability in the region in the next stage, and the impossibility of passing any projects without resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The fourth feature appears in the complete and utter disregard for the democratic issue in the region, as it is on the agenda of the United States. The article does not mention it at all, while geostrategic, security and economic considerations prevail, including the economic corridor, which was announced from India to Europe. Across the Mediterranean region, to limit China’s ambitions to intervene more effectively politically and economically in the region during the next stage.

This approach stems from criticism of the American approach to the region before October 7, which collapsed with the Al-Aqsa Flood operation, and prompted the American administration to rethink and review its previous assumptions. The two writers consider that the main key to the new phase that establishes a new regional order is an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and stopping the collapse. in the reputation and credibility of the United States and the worsening relationship with its Arab allies, especially Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, and to ease the state of tension in the Arab street towards the “unlimited” Israeli war of killing against Palestinian civilians. Such a step must be based on a new pattern of the relationship between America and Saudi Arabia, which seeks to be recognized as a major regional power and a key to conflict and peace in it, has great potential to influence various parties in the region, even including in the process of resuming the nuclear agreement with Iran, and the two researchers call for Saudi Arabia’s involvement in these discussions, as they call for Until it is a major party in any American deal or steps in the region.

It is a very optimistic approach, and may reach the stage of wishful thinking , as the relations between the various parties are more complex than they appear in the article and its simplification of political and economic interests, and the ceasefire itself is considered a dilemma today, with the presence of an extreme right-wing government and an American administration intervening in It is the last time of its life, before the next elections in November of this year, and reaching an acceptable vision for a two-state solution is not that easy, and all previous administrations have tried, the most recent of which is Donald Trump, and they did not succeed, and the Iranian role and its strategic, sectarian, and ideological connections are more complex than it seems. If we imagine Trump returning to the White House, then everything proposed by this approach will be in vain!

Foreign AffairsThe War That Remade the Middle East
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