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Oman's deputy prime minister, Fahd bin Mahmoud al-Said, President Barack Obama, Saudi Arabia's King Salman, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa at the GCC Summit, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, April 21, 2016 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

Despite Optics of Obama’s Gulf Trip, U.S.-GCC Cooperation Remains Robust

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The readout from President Barack Obama’s trip last week to the Gulf reflects the ongoing strains in U.S. relations with the Gulf monarchs. Both sides share responsibility for the current state of affairs. And it will take time to shift perceptions in the region so that the ongoing cooperation that is taking place is viewed more positively. It is also worth considering the possibility that the growing independence of the Gulf Arab states and the redistribution of power in their relationship with Washington will have a long-term benefit that’s just hard to see right now.

The coverage of Obama’s trip to the Gulf region last week for the second annual U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council summit was dominated by a relentless pessimism and critical tone. Nearly all the comment and analysis from the region and the international media conveyed a sense of mistrust among the leaders, and a failure to find common ground on key issues in the crisis-prone region. ...

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