Relations within the West – namely between the US, Britain and Europe – are being reinvented these days, not long after an existential crisis under former US President Donald Trump. President Joe Biden has come into office with an agenda to undo everything Mr Trump has said and done. This includes everything related to Europe, Nato and especially Russia. But it also means reviving the Iran nuclear deal, which was originally signed when Joe Biden was Vice President and was later abandoned by Mr Trump.
The same team that set the deal in motion in 2014 now insists on going back on it at almost any cost. And it’s important to remember that working with Russia, a party to the deal, is one of those potential costs. Other costs of the deal being mismanaged could include a deterioration in the quality of US relations with Arab countries, many of whom fear the final deal will ignore their concerns.
US-Arab relations have already been marred by America’s efforts, begun under Obama, to distance itself from many of its oldest Arab allies, coupled with a rapprochement with Iran that at times bordered on awe and awe. Since then, many Arab states have worked to diversify their alliances and build more ambitious ties with the East, particularly China and Russia.
It is remarkable how many in the West, in their analysis of Arab states’ positions on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are calling for a black-and-white stance, condemning the shades of gray on which countries in the region stand that India must instead rely on.
Of course, the West’s lectures on Ukraine contain valid arguments, because Moscow’s actions there were despicable, even if one agrees with the argument of many that Russia has fallen into a trap set by NATO. Any invasion by a neighbor to impose new facts on the ground should be internationally denounced and met with severe measures to prevent others from doing the same.
But aside from the freedom of Ukrainians and others to choose whether to join Western blocs and alliances, it is naïve to think that NATO’s expansion over the years would not have been interpreted as a provocation in Russia. In fact, NATO was once a North Atlantic alliance – now it stretches deep into the Baltic and Black Seas.
In this context, there are many reasons for the West to be more forgiving, if that is what it wants. Such an approach would also help draw Russia away from China, which one might think would be a more profitable target for the West if China is indeed the true rival. And yet Western leaders seem to know that Moscow is unlikely to back down on its part, and they don’t want to give it an opportunity to do so. Perhaps this is because they believe that if Russia gets bogged down in this war in Ukraine, it could hasten the demise of the current government.
However, little thought is given to how the West should deal with such a case, especially when Russia’s economy has been devastated by sanctions. The current focus is on immediate interests.
The positions of other nations in the Middle East and Asia should therefore also be understood in terms of national interests and not as prescriptive moralization. These countries speak the language of their national interests when they decide to diversify their foreign relations eastwards, especially after the US and European states have adopted a “strategic appeasement” with Iran and a “strategic indifference” to their alliances with the Arab states Have accepted.
Frankly, the West’s decision to sacrifice the sovereignty of Arab states that have fallen under the dominance of Iran, its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and their local proxy militias has received no ethical or civilizational value from Tehran’s marching orders at the expense of their homelands . The Western pretense that the priority should be to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is not moral, for in return the West has given Iran free rein to pursue aggressive regional behavior by removing the issue from the nuclear talks separated.
This happened when the nuclear deal was struck under Mr. Obama, and is happening again under Mr. Biden, with clear European complicity.
The nuclear deal seems likely to be signed this month so far. The Biden administration and European states seem even more determined than before to sign the deal. Iran’s oil is a European imperative, and Tehran’s separation from Moscow, albeit temporary, is in the West’s interest.
Meanwhile, despite the damage the war in Ukraine is wreaking on Europe, the West may find it beneficial if Russia is involved in a longer and deeper war in Ukraine.
In 1980, 1,584 Soviet soldiers died in Afghanistan in the first year of the war. Almost the same number of Russian soldiers are said to have died in Ukraine last month. The effects of a military quagmire and a weakening of Russia’s economy may serve the western powers, but probably only for now.
Published: April 03, 2022, 2:00 p.m