Monday, April 21, 2014

Kiron K. Skinner: Russian Revival

At the height of the Cold War, the Soviet Union had military ties with Iraq, Libya, Syria, and South Yemen. President Anwar Sadat expelled thousands of Soviet troops and military advisers from Egypt in 1972 and turned to the United States for a strategic alliance.

In 1979, the U.S.-brokered peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was signed; it marked the first time that an Arab country had recognized Israel. In addition, the United States had a network of security and military ties throughout the Middle East that allowed it to emerge as the peace and power broker in the region. Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has maintained its status as the dominant great power.

The Obama administration, however, seeks to reverse decades of U.S. diplomacy and security arrangements in the Middle East by simply withdrawing. In doing so, it is creating a regional power vacuum that Russia appears eager to fill.