Middle East Notes and Comment: Bipolar Disorder
September 20, 2010
U.S. foreign policy increasingly centers on two very different poles. The first is Asia, where trade-based relationships offer opportunities for extensive mutual benefit. The second is the Middle East, where persistent insecurity and violent extremism threaten American lives and American interests. The U.S. relationship with Asia is largely about upside benefits, and the U.S. relationship with the Middle East is largely about downside risks. It is not a construction that bodes well for the Middle East’s future.
For most of the twentieth century, U.S. foreign policy centered on Europe. Deep partnerships were forged out of two world wars and the half century of Cold War struggles that followed. The United States helped rebuild Western Europe from the ashes, nurtured strong economies, and helped tear down the Iron Curtain. Originally a child of Europe, the United States became the continent’s protector and its guarantor.