Quarter Four, 2020
1. US Withdrawal From the Middle East and its Implications
The citizens of the United States are now used to hearing about the Global War on Terror
and the US intervention in the Middle East. After 19 years of combat missions focused on ending
the spread of radical Islamic terror from havens in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and several other
locations inside and apart from the Middle East, the US is again planning a major withdrawal of
forces from these respective regions. The public has mixed feelings about the proposed
withdrawal. Many fear the resurgence of the ISIS and others see a black hole of endless war.
Historically, it is notable that terrorist organizations thrive upon any great power
withdrawal in the region. Poor government oversight in austere regions controlled by tribal style
systems have seen power seized by several groups, most notably Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and the
ISIS. The current administration has noted their belief in current US-trained forces in the region
and their ability to maintain regional control and peace.
Many who agree with the withdrawal support their cause by claiming that oil and
resources from the region imported by the United States are not essential enough to justify a
large military presence there. This theory disregards a significant geopolitical aspect of the
situation. Russia, China, and Turkey all seek hegemony in the region and have been increasing
their direct and indirect influences in the region. The US should not leave the Middle East as a
battleground for anti-democratic nations seeking to further their influence.
2. The BRI Continues, Coming Closer to the US
China’s Belt and Road Initiative contains various infrastructure opportunities and loans
given by China to nations across the world. Some of the most notable locations that the BRI has
affected have been in Africa and Asia. Sri Lanka was forced to surrender a port to the Chinese
government following its predatory recall of loans. In Africa, China continues to fund a slew of
investment projects by building infrastructure and places like libraries that focus on spreading
pro-Chinese propaganda. The BRI is a clear attempt to extend Chinese control and influence into
locations where other powers lack influence or interest.
Latin America is no different from any other region of the world and may provide better
strategic positions for China to expand its influence. Earlier this year, China agreed on a 1 billion
dollar loan to Latin America and Caribbean countries searching for a Covid-19 vaccine. China’s
historical path of recalling these loans should lead Latin American leaders to be cautious of
taking such loans. Understanding the repercussions means they may be forced to cede land or
assets to the Chinese government.
Chinese expansionism is an issue the United States has always had to understand and
respond to. Xi Jinping’s dedication to expanding Chinese influence into Latin America should be
on the radar of both the US government and the people, understanding the radical implications of
allowing strategic Chinese intervention in the western hemisphere. Continued Chinese presence
means more propaganda and public support, making international policy-making difficult for US
3. Israel-UAE Peace Deal
The peace deal led by the United States ending the boycott of Israel by the United Arab
Emirates saw a significant shift in global politics. The former adversaries have ushered in a new
era of international prosperity by putting aside age-old religious and cultural differences to seek a
future of trade and open communications.
The deal has several implications, all of which are debated country by country depending
on their relationship to Israel or UAE. Iran and Turkey have condemned the UAE, claiming that
the deal showed that the UAE is turning its back on Muslims and Palestinians living within
Israel’s controlled regions. These anti-Israeli sentiments are neither new nor shocking to the rest
of the world. They have continually been followed by unfounded claims about Israeli abuse, and
the occupation of areas claimed to be Palestine.
For the rest of the world, this trade deal means that new trade and travel routes will be
opened, allowing for a significant increase in commerce across the two countries. As far as
security goes, regional tensions can be seen running high in anti-deal nations such as Iran and
Turkey. Peace between the UAE and Israel could mean that future, more in-depth deals on
security might be pursued between these and other nations. However, immediate concerns should
revolve around increasing situational awareness of travelers between the two countries.
For the US, this deal means international and domestic political chatter. The current
administration has seen this as a major win, utilizing it to further political progress in the coming
election. Those opposing the current administration have remained relatively silent about this
historic move but could be expected to side with the nations in opposition as a short-term