Belmont Club

Why should they worry?

The Voice of America reports that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is on a trip to the Middle East to reassure Egypt and Saudi Arabia that it is not abandoning them simply because it is engaging Iran. VOA wrote:

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is on a trip to the Middle East, where he says he will tell two key American allies they should not worry about any potential improvements in American relations with Iran. Secretary Gates says he will tell Egyptian and Saudi leaders the Obama administration will not abandon long-time U.S. allies, if it manages to improve relations with Iran.

Recently, Hillary Clinton told the Lebanese government that “there is nothing that we would do in any way that would undermine Lebanon’s sovereignty. The United States will never make any deal with Syria that sells out Lebanon and the Lebanese people.” Ironically and probably for the first time in recent memory, both the Sunni Arabs and the Israelis are united in worry about the shape of Washington’s grand strategy in the Middle East for the same reasons. The Associated Press reports that “A solid majority of Jewish Israelis worry that President Barack Obama’s outreach to the Arab and Muslim world will come at their expense, a new poll showed Monday.”

“Israelis fear that President Obama’s opening to talks with Iran, Syria and perhaps even Hamas, will be taken as appeasement by these radical actors,” added BESA’s director, Professor Efraim Inbar. The results were released on the eve of Obama’s first meetings with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Whether or not those fears are justified, some signal coming out of Washington must give the impression that such a possibility exists. In the near future Gates, Clinton and Obama will be working to reassure a variety of nations that there is nothing to worry about. Nothing at all.