Biden wraps up ‘unsuccessful and embarrassing’ Middle East trip
US President Joe Biden (L) and Acting Prime Minister Yair Lapid take part in a virtual meeting with I2U2 leaders at a hotel in Jerusalem on July 14, 2022. Photo: AFP
Palestinians protest against U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to Gaza City on July 14, 2022. Thousands of Palestinians staged protests in the West Bank and Gaza Strip on Thursday against U.S. President Joe Biden’s first visit to Israel and in the Palestinian territories, denouncing its biased position on the Israeli-Palestinian question. Photo: Xinhua
US President Joe Biden concluded his four-day trip to the Middle East by trying to reassure Washington’s influence in the region, which was fired back by Chinese observers as the trip only showed that the American influence in this region is waning, as Biden returned home empty-handed. – handed over after none of its main goals – to push countries in the region to contain Iran and persuade them to increase oil supplies to reduce Russia’s oil revenues – were achieved.
Moreover, the US President’s repeated peddling of the so-called threat posed by China and Russia in the Middle East has made the already conflict-laden region aware of the growing danger posed by the United States. Experts said that turning around to get closer to Middle Eastern countries when the United States is in an oil crisis has further exposed the selfishness and hypocrisy of the United States towards these countries in the region, while picking the wrong time for the visit that yielded little result meant that Biden’s first trip to the Middle East was yet another huge and clumsy diplomatic mistake.
In a speech at a summit with six Gulf states, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq in Jeddah, Biden said the United States would remain an active and engaged partner in the Middle East, and that Washington would not go away and leave a void to be filled by Russia, China or Iran, he said.
“The United States is invested in building a positive future for the region, in partnership with all of you — and the United States is going nowhere,” he said, according to a transcript of his speech.
Biden made the remarks after concluding his four-day trip to the region, his first after more than a year and a half since taking office. Israel was the first leg of his four-day trip, followed by Saudi Arabia.
But in the eyes of Chinese experts, Biden’s trip to the Middle East was both “unsuccessful” and “embarrassing” because his administration’s two main goals are to coordinate countries in the region to form an effective deterrent against the Iran, and pushing Saudi Arabia’s oil supply increase to reduce Russia’s oil revenue, a professor at the Business University’s Institute of International Relations told the Global Times. from China to Beijing, who requested anonymity, noting that so far none of these goals have been achieved.
According to Reuters, the summit’s statement was vague and Saudi Arabia, Washington’s important Arab ally, threw cold water on US hopes that the summit could help lay the groundwork for a regional security alliance. – including Israel – to counter Iranian threats.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Saturday there was no guarantee that the increase in oil production beyond current levels would happen, and that his country was nearly exhausted and could not produce more. 13 million barrels more per day, Politico reported.
After Biden repeatedly berated China and Russia before and during his trip, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said in an interview with CNBC on Saturday that Riyadh would continue to strengthen its partnerships with Washington and Beijing. “We build bridges with people, we don’t see one as exclusive of the other,” the minister said.
Zhu Weilie, director of the Institute of Middle East Studies at Shanghai International Studies University, pointed out that Biden’s trip to the Middle East sends alarming signs to countries in the region, as they see clearly that the United States is not trying to solve problems, but is seeking to lead the already conflicted region to greater discord.
The United States will have as much trouble winning allies to contain China as it does in the Asia-Pacific, the Beijing-based expert said, noting that China has no enemy country in the Middle East, only a strong and mutually beneficial cooperation. “Moreover, China will not preach to countries in the Middle East what to do and what values they should adopt, nor impose sanctions on them,” he said.
In response to Biden’s remarks, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Israel said Saturday, “The Middle East is the land of its people, not anyone’s backyard. there is no so-called “vacuum” there”.
“The Middle East is not yet tranquil, with COVID-19 posing a protracted challenge to regional development and the fallout from the Ukraine crisis affecting regional security. People in the Middle East want development and security more than anything. The international community, and major countries in particular, should make it a priority and work constructively to help the countries and peoples of this region achieve development and security, not otherwise,” the spokesperson said. word.
As for Russia, Mr. Zhu said that it was difficult to get Russia out of this region, not only because Russia has a strong presence there, but also because it shares strong energy ties with the countries of the region.
Hot on the heels of Biden’s departure, Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to Tehran on July 19 for a summit on Syria with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Kremlin has announced.
Putin’s visit following Biden’s trip is meant to show that Russia is still welcome in the Middle East, and not a pariah, as US officials call it, the anonymous expert said, noting that Putin’s gesture is also meant to show that he has maneuvered to compete with the United States in this region.
Moreover, as Biden strives to win over Middle Eastern countries, they are moving closer to a true multilateral framework that includes China and Russia. BRICS International Forum Chairman Purnima Anand said in an interview with “Izvestia” newspaper that Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia could join the BRICS International Forum “very soon”.
Biden’s administration has previously been at odds with key Middle Eastern allies such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt on a range of issues, including human rights.
Experts also pointed out that the United States’ defense of human rights and its ideology are insurmountable obstacles that have caused deep-rooted suspicion and mistrust between the United States and countries in the Middle East, which are also increasingly suspicious of Washington’s “self-interest first” diplomacy.
Biden’s photo with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince also caught international media attention as he backtracked by calling the country a “pariah” on human rights issues to butt heads. fists up and pose for pictures with him. “It shows how hypocritical American diplomatic policy is. Once there are interests, they can immediately impose their so-called values under their feet,” the Beijing-based expert said.
Referring to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi during his meeting with Prince Mohammed, the latter, in addition to confirming that “what happened is regrettable and that we have taken all legal measures to prevent does not happen again”, also retaliated by asserting that “such an incident occurs anywhere in the world”, pointing out “a number of errors” made by Washington, such as the torture of detainees at the prison of Abu Ghraib in Iraq, Al-Arabiya reported.
Zhu said such a rapid change in attitude also shows Biden’s anxiety to rein in rising US oil prices. “His [Biden’s] the most pressing issues are inflation and soaring oil prices. For every penny the price of oil increases, Democrats lose many votes,” he said.
Back home, Biden’s trip was also mocked by many US media outlets, with the Washington Post describing it as a “controversial trip” and “it’s still unclear whether Biden’s bet will yield the results it research”.
It was reported that Biden was torn over whether to take the trip. “It seems like it’s best that he didn’t make the trip, because he went home empty-handed, has nothing to give to voters, and it turned out to be an embarrassing diplomatic mistake during term,” the Beijing president said. based expert.