Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi on the Arab Gulf States as a Geopolitical Tinderbox

Earlier this month, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote a sobering column about America’s geopolitical entanglements in the Middle East:

Even if the U.S. soon manages to produce all the fossil fuel energy it needs for itself, the world economy would be devastated if South Korea, Japan, and China were suddenly cut off from Mideast oil. So the U.S. will need to continue safeguarding the security of the Persian Gulf, barring one unlikely development: “The only thing that could change this would be burden-sharing with China with respect to keeping open the Strait of Hormuz,” says Andrew Exum, a Middle East expert at the Center for a New American Security. “When you see Chinese ships protecting trade routes through the Strait, maybe we can stop worrying as much.”

Furthermore, Americans are deeply interested in the security of Israel and that is unlikely to change. So Americans would do well to read Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi’s short piece on events that could transform the Arab Gulf states. The following scenarios are a few of the scenarios he envisions:

(1) What if Bahrain or Kuwait face palace coups? What kind of regime would take their place? And in a related vein, what if one or more of the eight Arab monarchies is overthrown and replaced by a republic?

(2) What if one of the affluent Gulf states faces an expatriate uprising, in which South Asian migrant workers riot or strike on a mass scale?

(3) What if Saudi Arabia or Bahrain see the rise of armed opposition movements?

(4) What if Qatar embraces robust democratic reforms?

(5) And perhaps most pressingly, what if an Israeli strike on Iran results in a series of Iranian attacks on the Arab Gulf states?

Given these possibilities, there is a strong case that foreign policy should play a more prominent role in the U.S. presidential race.

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

Most Popular

U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More