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Daily News Analysis

US decline and the soon-to-be orphaned Persian Gulf sheikhdoms

Crescent International

Successive US regimes have maintained puppets in power in the Persian Gulf.

These puppets are ideological mongrels, hence without principles or scruples.

Their job is to follow US orders in what matters to Washington at any particular time.

This reality creates vulnerability for the US as its long-established proxies are open for co-option by other emerging powers.

The intensification in US-China economic struggle has led some analysts to attempt to present this within the cold-war paradigm.

Other have questioned this outlook.

Writing for the Middle East Eye, Zeno Leoni, visiting scholar at Nebrija University who is currently doing research on the New Cold War between the US and China, pointed out that “while the conflict between the US and China has some similarities with the Cold War, the global distribution of power is no longer bipolar, as it was during the original Cold War. Rather, we are in a post-US order that is evolving in an uncertain, fragmented direction.”

If China begins to outstrip the US significantly, it could at any point simply buy out the unprincipled Gulf regimes.

China, however, is unlikely to outperform the US in the near to medium-term to force the Gulf regimes to completely abandon the US.

With rising US-China tensions, Beijing is unlikely to build serious economic or political relationship with the Persian Gulf regimes.

This will create some economic challenges for US puppet regimes in the region.

US-China competition is fought in the economic realm but its foundations are political.

Thus, Beijing will seek reliable political partners when building long-term economic relationships, like its 25-year proposed economic treaty with Iran.

Already experiencing serious economic downturns, the Persian Gulf regimes will be left to face regional powers on their own.

With US imperial power in sharp decline and China unwilling to get involved in regional feuds, the sheikhdoms are more likely to be reoriented according to the geopolitical visions of Iran and Turkey.

Ankara and Tehran will seek to reconfigure the current set-up in the Arabian Peninsula.

But for this, they need each other to redraw the US established socio-political order.

Turkey-Iran cooperation shielded Qatar from Saudi-led economic strangulation and an almost imminent Saudi invasion similar to what occurred in Bahrain.

The Qatar blockade was a practical example of how Turkey and Iran can manage their differences and cooperate for mutual benefit.

Thus, it is Turkey and Iran which are more likely to integrate the Persian Gulf into their spheres of influence rather than China.

Beijing’s political and military doctrine does not envision a hegemonic type of role in the region.

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