America No Longer Needs the Middle East

George Seay
Reuters

George Seay

Security, Middle East

The effectiveness of prospective American foreign policy hinges on how we engage with China, India, Russia, the European Union, and other significant global nation-states, not with how we engage the Middle East.

America No Longer Needs the Middle East

One of the intriguing things about grand strategy and the great game is how slowly professional practitioners in the field clearly see material strategic changes when they occur. A compelling example is how alone Winston Churchill stood in Depression-era Great Britain against the rise of Adolf Hitler. He was mocked for years by the “experts” and his peers in the House of Commons.

Today in the Middle East the United States faces a material strategic change, one that should be capitalized upon with all due dispatch. The result is a policy pivot back to a primary focus on great power diplomacy, and not endless, mindless, mini-wars in the Middle East that cost far too many American lives and drain our country of its resources.

What is the game changer that almost no one has fully recognized or appreciated? American shale oil and gas. America no longer needs oil and gas from the Middle East. Whether domestic supply or other suppliers outside the Middle East, there are ample fossil fuel resources to supply our energy needs for as long as we rely predominantly on oil and gas. President Donald Trump gave the first sign he has caught on to this state of affairs when three weeks ago he said that China, India, Japan, and others should be protecting shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, not the United States, as we do not need OPEC’s oil and gas anymore. One can argue the merits of U.S. disengagement in the Strait, but not the need for Middle Eastern energy—he is right, and we do not.

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