Dubai: A growing anger among American voters at their country’s interference in other nations could lead the United States down a road of disengagement with the Arab world, a top political scientist said.
Ian Bremmer, president and founder of Eurasia Group, a New York-based consulting company, said on Wednesday that the US’s rising oil production levels also mean it can be energy dependent, limiting its need to engage with Gulf countries.
“I would argue that if we want to understand long-term US policy in this region, you need to look at what the drivers are. The drivers are a majority of Americans increasingly feeling that a significant amount of American engagement in the rest of the world has not benefited them,” Bremmer said in Dubai.
“It’s the same thing you see with Brexit, it’s the same thing you see with the yellow vests [movement] in France, it’s the same thing you see in Italy, and that is going to grow when the economy takes a downturn.”
Speaking at the Arab Strategy Forum, he said that despite a drop in unemployment rates in the US, it was the wealthier states that are benefiting from growth in the labour market. Other states, many of whom voted for Donald Trump as president, still have relatively high unemployment rates that are making voters angry about their government’s spending.
“Add to that the lower energy prices and the United States now the world’s largest oil producer, and I think the longer term trends of America are towards disengagement with this part of the world,” Bremmer said.
Discussing other geopolitical trends in the Arab world, he said he expected to see more stable relations in the GCC.
Bremmer said the latest GCC Summit, which was earlier this week and saw the attendance of a junior minister from Qatar and a joint communique signed by all GCC members, implies that the Kingdom’s policy towards Qatar “is set to normalise.”
“I think that is the positive thing for the region and absolutely will be welcome by the United States.”