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No American disengagement in the Middle East

Richard Falk is Albert G Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University and Research Fellow, Orfalea Center of Global Studies. He is also former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.

He writes in "The US won't pivot away from the Middle East - Neither realist arguments nor ethical considerations will lead to a US disengagement from the Middle East" on AlJazeera on why America remains so engaged in the Middle East despite the Obama Administration suggesting it is pivoting toward greater engagement in Asia.

"A few years ago, US President Barack Obama made much of an American pivot to East Asia, a recognition of China's emergence and regional assertiveness, and the related claim that the American role in the Asia-Pacific should be treated as a prime strategic interest that China needed to be made to respect.

The shift also involved the recognition by Obama that the United States had become overly engaged in Middle Eastern politics with very few positive results and that it was time to reset foreign policy priorities.

The 2012 pivot was an overdue correction of the neocon approach to the region during the presidency of George W Bush that climaxed with the disastrous 2003 intervention in Iraq. It was then that delusions of "democracy promotion" and the prospect of a warm welcome by the Iraqi people hit a stone wall of unexpected resistance.

In retrospect, it seems evident that the US has not disengaged from the Middle East. Its policies are tied as ever to Israel, and it is fully engaged in the military campaigns taking place in Syria and against ISIL (also known as ISIS)."




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