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U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit, days before a U.S.-Russia-Jordan-brokered truce for southern Syria came into effect, Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Does Anyone Want to Replace the U.S. as the Great Power in the Middle East?

Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017

The United States has been the pre-eminent external actor in the Middle East since Egyptian President Anwar Sadat expelled his Soviet advisers and benefactors and turned to Washington in the 1970s. But America’s role is contracting, by design and by default. Russia and China insist they do not want to replace the U.S. in the Middle East, but they are still intent on expanding their regional influence.

The shifting fortunes among the three global greats—the U.S., Russia and China—are playing out in the Middle East today. The U.S. has indisputably dominated the scene, from its military presence in the Gulf and its decades-long diplomatic efforts to improve peace and security for the region. The Iraq War, however, was a turning point, when U.S. attempts to transform the region by force turned into a disastrous disruption that has seared the states and societies of the Arab heartland, eroding trust and goodwill toward America. ...

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