Love and hate are not political tools. They are personal or collective feelings that individuals or societies develop toward other societies or countries, regardless of whether they are near or far. The buildup of either sentiment over time gets translated into political decisions and positions as these feelings enter into the calculations of interests and relations between countries.
Certain Arab nations have seen their hatred of the United States build up over decades, and yet the current U.S. administration seems to be pursuing policies intended to fuel the resentment of even more Arab nations. It seems strange that any decision-maker would actively pursue such policies, unless they ignored the outcome and were blindly indifferent to possible reactions. Politicians should not be blind.
President Joe Biden’s administration represents the Democratic Party’s liberal left wing. It is also a natural extension of the Obama administration and doctrine, whether in terms of principles, ideas or sometimes even the people themselves. The Biden administration has taken hostile positions, made provocative statements and pursued policies that can hardly be deemed friendly toward several Arab countries, including the Arab Gulf states.
The ideological extremism espoused by the liberal left in the intellectual, artistic and political domains has gradually shifted the left toward dictatorial practices that heinously seek to control people’s freedom and individual choices regarding highly sensitive issues. One such issue is homosexuality; the liberal left is trying to normalize homosexuality and transform it from a marginal issue that is subject to cultural choice and educational policy into a foundational issue upon which culture, education and politics are built. That is something that most nations and societies do not appreciate. In fact, there is a lot of resentment among American families at the way this normalization of perversion is imposed on their children at early educational stages.
This policy, which is being rolled out from early childhood education up to high-level administrative decisions across America, represents a form of cultural decadence pursued by well-organized and influential pressure groups. Such perverted indulgence quickly becomes an abysmal form of dictatorship when America tries to spread it to the world using every means of soft power.
That is just one example of how the American empire stands to lose so much when its liberal left wing strives to impose an alien concept on cultures and societies that are so far removed from America’s internal debate. It also illustrates how the Biden administration is making biased choices and adopting contradictory policies over major issues and regional and international political crises.
Iran’s nuclear activity is a major issue for the region and the world, but the negotiations in Vienna have not been promising for myriad reasons. First, the American negotiation team has suffered multiple resignations caused by America’s ill-considered eagerness to please the Iranian side. Second, the decision to keep Arab Gulf states and all Arab countries out of those negotiations shows no sign of political balance. Third, Gulf and Arab countries are not just concerned about Iran’s nuclear weapons. They are also worried about Iran’s expansion strategy, its effort to extend its influence via terrorist groups and militias and its flagrant interference in the policies of several Arab countries, namely Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
Lifting the sanctions on the Iranian regime will encourage Iran to maintain its expansionist strategy, which is harmful to the region and the world. Despite strong opposition within Congress to removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the list of terrorist groups, the mere act of negotiating the matter is frightening evidence that the United States openly approves policies that would entrench chaos and terrorism in an unprecedented way in the event that Iran’s request is satisfied.
The policies that Barack Obama pursued proved dangerous to the Arab world during the bloody and notorious Arab Spring. They were also unconcealed policies, especially after Obama glorified Persians and denigrated Arabs in public following the end of his two-term presidency. No sane person anywhere in the world could believe that powerful and influential countries would stay silent in the face of policies that are harmful to their interests and the interests of their people.
This administration has modified some of its unfriendly policies. Statements have emerged from the Middle East region, particularly the Arab Gulf states, reasserting old alliances based on robust policies, firm and impactful decisions and the global balance of power. The Ukrainian crisis was just the tip of the iceberg; it simply pushed deep-rooted differences to the surface and revealed how the changes currently underway reflect immediate interests and current necessities and are markedly different from the nature of strategic alliances.
Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies successfully moved past the unfriendly policies of some American or Western-backed Islamic countries seeking to form regional alliances that unfairly rearrange the balance of power. Saudi Arabia moved past those policies by adopting robust and rational decisions and harnessing significant political gains across several countries.
For example, Pakistan has a new government. Iran made unprecedented concessions with regard to the policies of its regional proxies. The Turkish president visited Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and abandoned his former ill-conceived agenda. Relations with Russia and China are prospering and steadily progressing in a balanced way without affecting old relationships. In Yemen, things are heading toward a historic breakthrough; in Iraq, the status of nationalist forces is strengthening. Even in Syria, things are moving toward solutions that have yet to crystallize. All those developments combined provide a clear sense of the gains achieved and the interests met by recent policies.
All the above relate to specific aspects of the political realm. At the cultural level, it is neither beneficial nor feasible for Arab countries aspiring to achieve growth and seeking to shape or influence the future to have their societies grow more resentful of America or Western countries. We have a dire need for science, technology and all the facets of human civilization that the West currently embodies. Accordingly, the American policies seeking to fuel the hatred of more Arabs are not beneficial, even if that is not their direct or deliberate intent.
Policymakers in Washington should view the statements coming out of the Arab Gulf region by officials of various ranks as cautionary advice that Arab Gulf countries have alternatives at the international level, that America’s internal partisan disagreements are not their concern and that Arab Gulf countries are trying their best to preserve the successful relations they have built under the old alliance.