Rebuilding US Middle East Relations

Nothing shows a cry for change more than the shift in America’s political administration. With Obama’s exit and Trump’s surprise election for the presidency, the US is in store for more than just a new political leader, but also a future full of endless possibilities and firsts. It has only been a few months since the new president has officially taken his position, but everyone around the globe has already put him and the US under a microscope. It seems as if every day the media always has something new to add to their list of Trump news. One of the most recent and highly anticipated of such is the Trump administration’s stance on rebuilding the country’s relations with the Middle East.

As many are aware, Obama’s administration left the country’s relationship with its Middle Eastern allies pretty strained. This was brought about by several events that ultimately led to what people consider as a failure of the administration’s foreign policy. The former president’s well intentions and optimism towards the Middle East were not enough to stop the emergence of terrorist groups such as the Islamic state. It seems that a lack of American power and a firm hand in the Middle East resulted in the alienation of US allies in the region.

Last May, Trump embarked on his much awaited first trip to the Middle East which many people hoped would be a successful effort in repairing the country’s relationship with its allies, including Saudi Arabia and Israel. The two countries are considered to be where the president has gained relatively positive feedback from the public. At the visit, President Trump emphasized his willingness to defend the region with more power against threats from Iran. He also called out to countries all over the region to unite towards the isolation of Iran to stop the country’s leaders from funding terrorism.

This clear reproach of Iran was something that was lacking in the past administration which also contributed to the strained relationship between the US and the Middle East. Trump’s direct statements against Iran sends a message to our Middle Eastern allies that the new administration will be more involved and assertive in the region.

Another issue that many people were waiting to hear about is the 2015 Nuclear deal with Iran which was implemented in 2016. This deal, which also angered Israel and Saudi Arabia, was an effort of the Obama administration along with 5 other countries to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting international sanctions against the former. This deal is only good for 15 years which is why many are concerned that it would not really stop Iran from developing its nuclear program. During a review last April, the Trump administration announced that Iran was, in fact, keeping their end of the bargain; however, it has not yet made any statements on whether or not it will be keeping the deal.

On another note, the leaders of Israel and Saudi Arabia seemed to be more cordial towards the new president. One possible reason for this is that he was less critical of their regimes. Trump distanced himself from the country’s internal issues, unlike Obama who was very vocal about his criticisms of the leaders’ stand on human rights.

Many deemed Trump’s first visit to the Middle East a successful one, but the US still has a long way to go before relations with the region are repaired. Although Trump’s win has garnered mixed reactions, one thing holds true: change has definitely come. With things still unsure, the world will definitely be watching the current administration’s every move.

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