The US has a long history of foreign policy in the Middle East. Yet, its cultural ties and trade relations with countries in the region remain relatively weak compared to its relations with Europe and Asia. Since the end of the cold war, the US and Russia showed great interest in Middle Eastern countries, particularly Egypt, allowing them to take advantage of their resources and energy sources. Nevertheless, The US has experienced significant advancements, especially after becoming one of the most powerful nations after World War II. Hence, this essay compares the early and contemporary interests of America in the Middle East. Particularly, the US’ position as a superpower has played a major role in its foreign policy with the Middle East but secularization has also affected the relationship between the US and these Countries.
The Global order that emerged after World War I and II dramatically shifted nations’ powers, establishing the US as a leader worldwide. During the 90s, the US expanded its security and military presence in the Middle East to contain Saddam Hussein in Iraq and powerful individuals in other nations. Nevertheless, the US is still considered indispensable, thus supporting its role in promoting prosperity and democracy among other nations, opposing dictatorship, and championing human rights through its military, diplomatic, and economic engagement up to date (Andersen et al., 2020). Similarly, secularization and clerical regimes in Iran also helped advance US foreign policies in the Middle East through its support for equality, human rights, basic human freedoms, and peace between the Arabs and Israel (Castle & Schoettmer, 2019). Subsequently, these policies have been improved to accommodate cooperation like weapons supply and military training.
The September 911 attack on US soil is one of the factors that significantly increased US engagement with Middle Eastern countries. After these events, the US established extensive ties with allies like Jordan and Egypt to counter-terrorism. Moreover, the US worked with Middle Eastern Countries against adversarial regimes in Libya and Yemen (Andersen et al., 2020). More specifically, the US invaded Iran in 2003, leading to its sustained presence in the nation until 2011. Currently, US foreign policy interests can be categorized into initiatives to prevent nuclear proliferation, promote democratization, maintain the security of Israel, and fight terrorism (Castle & Schoettmer, 2019). Thus, the US has played a major role in addressing security issues in the area, allowing it to have a longstanding military relationship with the region.
America’s powerful geopolitical role after WWII and increased secularization have both played a vital role in its foreign policy changes and interboundary relations with Middle Eastern countries. However, its geopolitical role has contributed more to its foreign policy designs and relationship with Middle Eastern Countries. For example, as one of the most powerful countries on the globe, the US is responsible for establishing a global order that obligates other nations to abide by the tenets of peace, equality, and human rights. Moreover, it requires allies who can provide military support in case of threats.
Thus, its cooperation with Middle Eastern countries is strategic to ensure its security and prevent the escalation of the conflict (Andersen et al., 2020). Moreover, America’s powers allow it to limit destructive projects and the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction that pose threats to human existence (Criekemans, 2021). Therefore, its geopolitical role has significantly impacted its foreign policies in Middle Eastern Countries.
Andersen, R. R., Seibert, R. F., & Wagner, J. G. (2020). Politics and change in the Middle East. Routledge.
Castle, J. J., & Schoettmer, P. L. (2019). Secularism and politics. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Web.
Criekemans, D. (2021). Geopolitical Schools of Thought: A Concise Overview from 1890 till 2020, and beyond. Geopolitics and International Relations, 97-155. Web.