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American Foreign Policy toward the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Strategic Transformations

The shifts in U.S. foreign policy toward the Palestinian cause reveal the fact that this policy varies from one period to another, and from one president to another, and that its role and its impact on the conflict contribute greatly to the progress of the peace process. The region has witnessed increased tension since America made the Palestinian cause its second priority. Whether its involvement is active or not, the U.S. role remains strong and influential in achieving peace and spreading security and stability in the Middle East. The essay concludes with recommendations for concluding the long-standing conflict.

American Foreign Policy toward the Arab-Israeli Conflict Strategic Transformations

Introduction

The U.S. has played an important role in settling the Arab-Israeli conflict. This role has been distinct and effective from the beginning of the conflict in the early 20th century until the establishment of Israel in 1948, and has continued to the present day. The U.S. has maximized its engagement in the recent period, especially after the events of September 11, during which America has exerted remarkable efforts to end the conflict, motivated by an understanding that this is the best way to achieve peace and stability in the Middle East. 

Since the establishment of Israel, there has been a strategic shift in the U.S.’s role. This became crystal clear during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, during which this conflict was not a top priority on the agenda of decision makers. Instead, the American administration increased its emphasis on eliminating terrorism, and adapting the region to U.S. will by routing out the powerful countries. This strategy paved the way for the so-called “new Middle East project,” which was launched by the administration of President George W. Bush, and which focused on a wide area, including all the Arab countries in addition to Turkey, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, to promote political, economic and social reform. This project also supported the superiority of Israel as a strategic American tool, and as a deterrent to regional powers which sought to play major roles in the region and threaten American and Western interests. This strategy is epitomized in the case of Iraq in the 1980s, when Israel launched a military strike targeting Iraq’s nuclear program, although it was still peaceful.

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