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Harold Hutchison / Mar. 2, 2021

America Helps China by Staying Mired in Middle East

Biden’s policies are ensuring that we’ll need to continue spreading thin.

By reversing some of President Donald Trump’s policies in the Middle East, President Joe Biden is putting America in a bind when it comes to dealing with Beijing. Who would have guessed that ChiCom Joe would do such a thing?

Whether it’s the decision to yank the rug out from under the Saudi-led effort to keep Iran from getting a foothold in Yemen, going further into Syria, or halting our domestic energy production as part of the pursuit of a nonsensical Green New Deal, Biden is taking America’s eye off the main geopolitical threat — China.

Now, before things go too far, the U.S. does have some vital interests in the region. First and foremost is keeping Iran from being able to realize the stated ambitions of its leadership to carry out a second Holocaust via wiping Israel off the map. The good news is that Biden can’t undo Trump’s actions regarding Qasem Soleimani. Small comfort, but these days, we take what we can get.

However, there are multiple ways to ensure Iran doesn’t carry out its threats. One is to have a massive troop presence in the region. If the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Space Force had a large enough force structure, that would be doable, albeit challenging. But America is reaping the consequences of the so-called “peace dividend” of the 1990s, and has been since 2001. The cuts in the force structure we made then — which weren’t restored despite fighting a global war on terror — now mean we cannot do as much as we need to do.

The second way is to build up allies so that we don’t need to have as many forces in the region. One of the most important tools in that regard is selling weapons. If the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have more modern military forces, it means America doesn’t need as many forces in the region. Given the limited force structure of our current military, that frees us up to provide a counter presence to China — a moral and geopolitical necessity. In addition, the rapprochement that a number of moderate Arab countries are reaching with Israel should be rewarded, assuming Biden doesn’t hamper our relations with the Saudis over their gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The harsh reality is that our present force structure can barely do the job in the Middle East, and even then, there’s no sign that our troops are allowed to win — if those inside the Beltway even know what would constitute winning, and if our troops are focusing on fighting wars as opposed to “struggle sessions” over the latest left-wing ideological fads.

Yet Biden seems determined to undermine the four years of hard work Trump put in on trying to help allies in the Middle East stand up so we can keep China contained. The fact is, getting caught up in morasses like Afghanistan and Syria makes it harder to contain China. We’ve said China would be a big winner in a Biden administration — and getting ourselves re-mired in the Middle East is one way to give Beijing those wins.

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