America’s Enemies Fill the Vacuum She Leaves Abroad

The Russian Navy guided missile cruiser Moskva sails in the Bosphorus on its way to the Mediterranean Sea in Istanbul, Turkey June 18, 2021. (Yoruk Isik/Reuters)
The oft-discussed Middle Eastern power vacuum does not exist. America’s adversaries have already filled it.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE P resident Biden’s meeting with Xi Jinping on November 15 shifted media attention from COP26 back to great-power politics, but a more subtle, yet perhaps more consequential, shift has occurred over the past month. This shift is remarkable for its lack of American involvement — it presages a Middle Eastern regional transformation over which the United States will have little to no influence. Rather, Russia and increasingly China have become the region’s key external powers. The central question for both as they move forward will be the degree of Iranian expansionism they will accept.

On October 22, Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett

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