Desert shield of the republic? A realist case for abandoning the Middle East
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review
Colleges, School and Institutes
- University of Exeter
Political realists disagree on what America should “do” and “be” in the Middle East. All are skeptical toward extravagant geopolitical projects to transform the region. Yet they differ over whether hegemony in the Gulf and its wider environs are worth the substantial investment of blood and treasure. Hegemonic “primacy realism” finds the commitment effective and affordable, and that Washington should stay to stabilize the region to ensure a favorable concentration of power. There is an alternative “shield of the republic” realism, however, which views the pursuit of armed supremacy in the Middle East as harming political order at home, reducing security more than generating it, and costing too much for too little gain. It involves interests that are either manageable from a remove or largely generated by being there in the first place. In this article, we lay out the latter position, arguing that the unruly Gulf is increasingly peripheral to US national interests. The region is losing its salience grand strategically, entanglement and continuous war damage republican liberties, and the calculus of whether continued hegemony is “worth it” has shifted decisively toward the downside. The time for abandonment has come.
|Early online date||19 Feb 2021|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 19 Feb 2021|