Senior Fellow Andrew Latham writes for The Hill examining the implications of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s landmark visit to the Gulf and seeming turn from Iran.
The change in China’s regional strategy is real. And it will result in the geopolitical map of the Persian Gulf being redrawn, amplifying some existing trends and introducing some new ones. The regional cold war will continue, perhaps with some elements of detente as all sides see the possibility – and potential payoffs – for a relaxation of tensions. And Washington will continue to play an important role in the region, even if its attention will increasingly be on Europe and the Western Pacific. Largely thanks to China, however, the hedging GCC states will enjoy increasing strategic autonomy and Washington will exercise decreasing influence over its erstwhile regional partners.
Andrew Latham (@aalatham) is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Peace & Diplomacy and a Professor at Macalester College.