International Relations: US and Middle East Relations
International relations between countries are usually fuelled by mutual interest, corruption, and indifference to self-interest of the people. This has become the backbone for guiding the histories and current practice being used for deciding how countries will interrelate with each other. In the contemporary world, one of the driving forces for international relations is the need for economic interests, in the fallacy of the use of human rights advocacy and democracy. The United States is one such country that uses these two ideologies to protect and spread their interests across the world. This paper will look at the mechanisms and strategies being employed by the US in advancing their interests on the international economic, social and political arena. It will base its assertions on the movie, ‘Syriana’, as well as looking at the assertions and innuendos by Geoffrey Wawro in his book, Quicksand: America’s pursuit of power in the Middle East.
The movie gives an overview of social, political, and economic intrigues that take place in the boardrooms and backrooms in big corporations and in political and intelligence circles. This gives an interesting outlook of the dealings by the US in its pursuit for world domination, economic interests, and protection of their financial and political proxies. According Wawro, some of the strategies being utilized by Americans in advancing their interests include power games, wars, intimidations, assassinations, and backroom interventions. They have developed international relations foreign policy that many analysts contend is flawed and requires major changes including complete overhaul of some strategies.
Wawro’s provides an intricate analysis of the history of the foreign policy relations that the US has been using since the inception of foreign intervention as a form of international relations. According Wawro, its major international relations have mainly been with Middle East countries (Wawro 212). However, such relations have been structured in a manner that ensures that their economic and military interests are protected. One of the pertinent factors that this interest has been pegged on is the oil reserves, which the Middle Eastern countries have in plenty. According to analysis of the international relations of the Middle East and the US, the major interests have been formed based on mutual interest.
For instance, Israel negotiated its deal with the Americans in a bid to increase their military power when dealing with the hostile Middle Eastern countries surrounding it such as Palestine and Egypt. According to the deal, the Israelis received military support from the US, due to the longstanding issues that the latter has had with the communist Russia, which was supporting these Middle Eastern countries. Aside from being against their military rival, Russia, the US also, receive military proximity by placing some of their military arsenals in Israel that would be closer for launching an attack. This is the same strategy that has been used when dealing with other countries such as Afghanistan and Iran, where the US seeks to advance their military interest by stopping such countries as Iran from developing nuclear technology.
According to the movie, one of the strategies used by the US was to assassinate the Emir Prince Nassir, who was against Western economic interest. He was against an overreliance on the country on the US. Therefore, he cancels a contract for oil that had been given to a Texan company and awarded it to a Chinese company, whose bid was higher. This strategy serves to promote the economic interests of the country since it would generate more revenues, and reduce overreliance on America. International relations in the contemporary world are driven by the advancement of one’s interests and ideologies based on egoism and anarchy and where each party has to gain from the relationship.
However, according to the movie, self-interest and ambition drive America to consider the decision to halt their oil exploration efforts as hostile and a threat to their future sustainability. This makes them seem vulnerable since Prince is also considered as the successor to the throne. Americans believe that this succession would result in him refusing the advancements of American ideologies, which would hurt them immensely. In retaliation, the American opts to assassinate Him since he does not pass as a future ally to the Americans. Additionally, he would hurt American oil interest from the Middle East.
This is unlike statistics, which indicate that America only receives 24% of its oil from the Persian Gulf states, which is a paltry amount. Therefore, it is paramount that America solidifies its oil interest since the states have the largest oil reserves, and the commodity is projected to be depleted within the next few decades. It is thus vital that America maintains good relations with the Middle East countries. This analogy of protecting their interests is further demonstrated using the merger of the two oil companies whose merger is considered flawed and corrupt. In the deal, the company that lost the Saudi Arabia oil deal to the prince merges with another company that has just won oil rights in Kazakhstan. However, since the deal is marred in corruption and inconsistencies in its documentation and audit, the companies makes a deal with the justice department where two people would be fronted and prosecuted as the corrupt dealers, while the companies’ deal would be swept under the rug.
This example shows the level of corruption present in most international relations. Additionally, it shows American’s foreign policy that is flexible to accommodate corruption, as long as the results serve its self-interests. This is a flawed methodology of dealing with its partners since it is in contrast with their ethical principles that are outlined under their calls for human rights protection and democracy. Major issues have also been raised by different analysts and academicians regarding the less than cordial relationships that America has with other countries. For instance, it America hardly relates with countries that have little to no economic, military, security, environmental, or political interests that would align to the American interest. This means that in the event that these countries are with faced security challenges such as wars among rival political factions that could destabilize the country, America hardly steps in to quell the issue.
This is unlike the methodology used to overthrow Iraq’s president over claims of human rights abuses of its citizens. In the battle that ensued, worse human rights abuses were committed and the destabilization of the country’s politics, destruction of property and government structures resulted in the country suffering immensely. However, this invasion was masked, as it was a means for the country to gain access to oil reserves by the country, after Saddam banned Western oil explorers and contractors from operating with the country. This shows the level of poor foreign policies in the country considering how it deals with countries not adapting to their needs and interests. Use of military power and intervention is detrimental and shows the poor adherence to dialogue or other more effective ways to manage their international relations. It is imperative that these changes to the international foreign policy be effected to ensure that the future American relations with other countries are not soiled.
According to Wawro, presidents such as Bill Clinton and Presidents Bush used military might to advance their agendas and ideologies on the international stage (Wawro 355). The current administration has changed this military policy and pegged its policy on a more cordial relations with other countries based on dialogue rather than military force. Newer strategies that can be employed are such as America reducing overreliance on military interventions and negotiations and resorting to other means such as foreign and economic sanctions.
This is evidenced by the continual economic and foreign sanctions that have been placed on Iran in a bid for the US to control Iran’s nuclear arms development. Therefore, based on this article, the changes to the US foreign policy have been poorly handled over the past decades. The use of force through military intervention or political assassinations has been detrimental in the country’s quest to develop mutual international relations. Such strategies are based on anarchy and egoism and only tarnish the country’s image. However, the positive effects of this move have been the advancements of US interests on a global scale, as well reaping heavily from these actions.
Wawro, Geoffrey. Quicksand: America’s pursuit of power in the Middle East. New York: Wiley & sons. 2010. Print.