GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
Title of Paper:
U.S. Partisan Politics, the 2016 Elections, and the Future of Gulf Security
Paper Proposal Text :
Since 9/11, U.S. policy responses to a series of disruptive Middle East-related events have been heavily shaped by partisan politics. The decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was rooted in the rise of the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party, for whom Iraq represented an opportunity to demonstrate the utility of American military power and the universal appeal of political liberty. The resulting fiasco gave electoral advantage in 2008 to the Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama, who exploited the American public’s exhaustion with trying to use force to extend freedom in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the resulting U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, combined with vacillating U.S. responses to events in Egypt and Syria, coincided with further regional destabilization, culminating in the rise of ISIS and the U.S. return to the use of force in the summer of 2014. As the 2016 Presidential election approaches, the negative legacies of Republican (2001-2009) and Democratic (2009-2016) rule had discredited the foreign policy establishments of both political parties, leading to dangerous drift and a perception in the region that the era of U.S. regional leadership (dating back to end of World War II) was coming to an end. The Arab Gulf states, in particular, had reason for serious doubts about the U.S. role, having witnessed the U.S. Arab Spring flirtation with supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, U.S. retreat from its threat to strike Assad’s regime in Syria, the Iran deal, rising U.S. skepticism toward the U.S.-Saudi partnership, and the popularity of a Republican candidate who came close to proclaiming the entire Muslim world as an enemy. This paper will highlight and assess the possible impacts of United States partisan politics on the future of Gulf security, with specific focus on the November elections.