The reason, according to Michael Young is that Obama's America prefers to ignore the Middle East:
Obama is hastening the end 60 years of American pre-eminence in the Middle EastContinue reading Obama's America prefers to ignore the Middle East
The debate over America's global decline rages on. However, in one context there is less disagreement. As we know it, the American-dominated order, or what we can call Pax Americana, in the Middle East seems to be on its last legs, even if the military power of the United States will remain unrivalled for some time to come.
Three events last week highlighted Washington's economic challenges, which are also psychological.
President Barack Obama announced that he would withdraw 30,000 troops from Afghanistan in the coming year, a first step towards ending the American military presence in the country. On the same day, the Congressional Budget Office released a report warning that without deep cuts in federal health and retirement programmes or sharp tax increases, America's national debt would exceed annual GDP by 2021.
And days later, talks between Congressional Republicans and Democrats to increase the US debt ceiling broke down, amid discord over tax increases. Republicans reject raising taxes. Instead, they appear amenable to saving money by slicing into military spending, traditionally a sacred cow for the party.
Mr Obama has not hidden that his priority is to revive America's well-being, and that he views overseas conflicts and military deployments, above all in the Middle East, as obstacles to this. The president has accelerated drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan, was a reluctant participant in the Libya campaign, and has remained aloof from developments elsewhere in the Arab world. Unlike President Lyndon Johnson, whose ambitious domestic agenda was undermined by the Vietnam War, Mr Obama seems unwilling to allow his domestic priorities to suffer from conflicts abroad.
Michael Young is opinion editor of the Daily Star newspaper in Beirut and author of The Ghosts of Martyrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon's Life Struggle
Hat tip: LBD
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