West Asia Says Goodbye to US and Hello to China

Orinoco Tribune, June 9, 2023 —

As the countries of West Asia have been turning more and more frequently to China for geopolitical concerns, the United States has been losing its foothold of influence in the region; a loss which is felt to be its own problem and responsibility by many.

“In an attempt to salvage his country’s waning influence in the Middle East, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will embark this week on a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia,” said Al Jazeera’s senior US political analyst Marwan Bishara in a post this Tuesday, June 6, while arguing that advancing “strategic cooperation” with his Saudi and Gulf counterparts may prove to be an uphill battle.

According to Bishara, the US has been systematically withdrawing from the area, which contradicts Joe Biden’s so-called promise when he attended the Gulf Cooperation Council summit last year, in which he claimed, “America will not walk away and leave a vacuum for China, Russia, or Iran to fill.”

However, it is precisely those countries that are taking the place of the US in the geopolitical influences of the region. An example of this is that relations between Beijing and Tehran have been consistently improving alongside a maintenance of strong ties with Moscow, despite constant reproaches from Washington.

According to analysts, the retreat of West Asian countries from the US began two decades ago, when the United States began ramping up oil and gas production. While China’s influence has been growing in the form of mutual relations—such as bilateral ties, diplomatic agreements like the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and infrastructural development such as the well-known Belt and Road Initiative—the US has been dwindling in influence and in business ties with the Gulf countries, clinging to punitive measures in an attempt to assert its hegemony through its so-called “rules-based order.”

Even without a direct presence, Washington does not want to give up space to other emerging powers. The Biden administration has recently been increasing the pressure on some West Asian states, warning them not to help Russia evade the so-called “sanctions” of the Western bloc, or else face the wrath of the US and its G7 vassals. According to many analysts, such a move is in vain.

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