By slaughtering sacred cows of Middle East policy, the Trump administration has taken such long-overdue steps as recognizing Israeli sovereignty in Golan Heights, while brokering groundbreaking agreements between Israel and Arab countries. Of course, the Obama administration deserves some credit for the latter developments too, as its attempt to realign the U.S. with Iran inadvertently fostered greater cooperation between Israel and the Gulf states. But, asks Danielle Pletka, will Joe Biden, if victorious in the upcoming election, seek to reverse some of these developments?
Arab leaders are already fretting about what a Biden presidency could mean for them. More than the Biden-Harris campaign’s promises to “reassess our relationship with the kingdom, end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, and make sure America does not check its values at the door to sell arms or buy oil,” the greater fear is of the pendulum swinging back to the pre-Trump status quo, and a rebalancing of American policy in the region to favor Iran. As much as anything else, the fear of a renewed American-Iran alliance is driving Sunni Arabs to Israel. Could they be wrong?
Team Biden has made it clear that if Iran comes back into compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iran deal, they will rejoin. But it seems unlikely that anyone from a Biden administration would conduct the aggressive lobbying campaign for Iran that Barack Obama’s hapless Secretary of State John Kerry embraced. Indeed, the more serious risk is not that Biden’s Middle East advisers fall hopelessly in love with the Islamic Republic, as too many of Obama’s negotiators did. It is that they will do nothing in the face of Iranian efforts to dominate the Middle East and that America’s erstwhile allies take their security into their own hands, to dangerous effect.
With an America that ignores both Iranian predations against its own people and turns its back . . . traditional allies, . . . the odds are that regional powers will take it upon themselves to protect their interests in the best way they know how. That began with a new alliance with Jerusalem, but where it could end is anyone’s guess. The last time such fears were in the air, the Saudis escalated their conflict with Yemen. . . . This time they may well turn to other interested global players—Saudi Arabia is now China’s top oil supplier—for weapons and more.