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"America’s Strategic Options in the Middle East" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse16 Jan 2019 9:00 p.m. PST

"Before he resigned, former Defense Secretary James Mattis was reportedly working in conjunction with the Department of State to revise US policy in the Middle East. Whatever vision Mr. Mattis had will have likely died when he left office – but he had the right idea in undertaking a review. Our strategic situation in the region has changed since the turn of the century, but our basic strategy has remained largely intact. That is not necessarily a good or bad thing, but it does suggest that a review of political-military strategy in the region is prudent.

Militarily, we maintain a series of major bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, Turkey, and Iraq with smaller support presence in Jordan, Qatar, and Israel. We have also maritime prepositioned equipment in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and maintain a forward deployed naval presence in the region headquartered in Bahrain. Diplomatically and militarily our strategic agreements are bilateral, as they are in the Pacific and the Indian Oceans. There is no NATO-like alliance in the region.

What has Changed? Perhaps the most profound change is that we are no longer dependent on the Middle East for oil. A combination of decreasing use of non-fossil fuels, high mileage vehicles, and increased domestic oil production has radically reduced our energy dependence on the Middle East, and that trend will continue into the next decade no matter which party governs. The Republicans will continue to push domestic fossil fuel production while the Democrats will increasingly strive for alternatives to the traditional reliance on fossils. Either way, dependence on the Middle East for energy will continue to decrease. Many Pentagon thinkers and politicians have yet to realize it, but the region has slipped down on the list of vital national interests…."
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