If someone in Washington is reviewing the outcome of US President Joe Biden’s recent visit to the Middle East region, he would find the grave mistakes the president had committed. Biden tried to walk like Barack Obama and negotiate like Ronald Reagan. He is neither like Reagan, a pragmatic politician who believed in his allies and partners, nor like Obama, who is elegant in his dealings with others despite differences of opinion.
In the wake of Biden’s visit to Jeddah, the West Bank and Tel Aviv last week, a very important question arises: Did Biden happen to visit the region one and a half years late?
The answer to the question is yes. He came very late, and he could have bridged the huge gap not only between him and Riyadh, but also between him and Cairo and Abu Dhabi. These are the most important Arab capitals that are active and able to help America in its current political and economic crisis if he had come weeks after assuming office instead of letting smoke screens dampen visibility and impede contacts.
It was not at all necessary for Washington either this long trip or complicated political maneuvers to reach Riyadh. The road to Riyadh is very easy to reach and its equation is based on respect for the old ally, maintaining commitment to the friendship and safeguarding the rights of partnership. It would have been ideal if the current US administration treated Saudis similar to the treatment by those who had occupied the White House since Franklin Roosevelt all the way to former President Donald Trump, with the exception of the Obama administration.
To be fair, Saudi Arabia has always been part of the electoral campaign issues and intrigues between the two parties — the Democrats and the Republicans — in America, particularly during the last two decades. In the post-globalization and social media revolution scenario, the extreme left got an upper hand and the countries that are hostile to the Kingdom have had an influential role with their penetration in the American media and decision-making bodies. There has been a surge in the clashes of ideas over Saudi Arabia, and these were evident in any political discussions within the corridors of the White House, as well as in the two houses of Congress and the media platforms, too.
Biden, who comes from the class of classic politicians, has truly become lame in politics. He is trying to please the leftist extremists from the party’s youth and follow in their footsteps. He is neither Reagan nor Obama. Rather, he is a politician living in the White House who came surrounded by hawks from the perverted left who kidnapped him and hijacked his decisions. Biden is surrounded by journalists who represent the worst in the media. They always besiege the president and keep him in the circle of hostility to Saudi Arabia to deal with it harshly, and even push him to punish the Kingdom for mistakes that it did not commit.
Biden has come committing the grave mistakes he and his party perpetrated against the region since 2009, the year when Obama assumed office. And we may recall that any political solution requires first acknowledging the mistakes made by Obama and that was completed by Biden through abandoning the Middle East, and neglecting strategic relations with its allies and partners who have been faithful to that relationship for a period spanning over one hundred years. When Washington unilaterally decided to abandon the Kingdom and leave for the East, no one blamed it. They only searched for their interests and established strategic relations with other countries.
The Middle East, in terms of its security, economy, and stability, has paid a heavy price because of America’s drift behind hostile policies. Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and Libya were stable countries until the White House occupant decided to tamper with their security for no reason other than being fascinated by the discourse of the left and the extremist Brotherhood. The White House did not stop there, but rather tried to tamper with the security of its traditional allies in the Gulf, and today Biden wants things to return to the way they were, and the Arab East is still bleeding, and many of its faltering countries and peoples are among the homeless, refugees, the poor and the destitute.
Does the occupant of the White House caution about the error of exiting the Middle East, or is it a temporary maneuver until the end of the Ukrainian crisis. Instead of an internal workshop criticizing wrong decisions and trying to fix them, Biden tried to throw a flame ball at the people of the Arab region, believing that merely threatening to return is enough to rob their hearts and minds and return to the alliance jogging. All these are illusions and dreams that are not going to succeed.
I remember a little over a year ago how Biden described his relations with Riyadh when he said that they were partners and not allies, then pulled back from designating Houthis as terrorists and then returned to the Iranian nuclear agreement.
It’s expected that everyone would spread their chests to celebrate the return of the victorious leader “General Biden” to the Middle East, but the souls are no longer the same souls. The people are neither the same people, nor the atmosphere is the same atmosphere.