The United States has an enduring interest in a stable, peaceful Middle East.
The United States has an enduring interest in a stable, peaceful Middle East, and current changes in the region notwithstanding, we will remain fully committed to the security of our allies and our partners in the region.
Speaking on December 7th at the Manama Dialogue, an annual meeting of Gulf-region security ministers and officials in Bahrain, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that even as the political landscape in the Middle East has changed dramatically over the past five years, so has U.S. engagement in the area.
We have ended the war in Iraq, and are in the process of winding down our combat mission in Afghanistan. Still, regional challenges remain, and some have even intensified. This includes violent extremism, regional upheaval caused by failed states, and destabilizing actors of every sort, both non-state groups and state sponsored.
So, the United States is building a new strategic agility in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world, said Secretary Hagel:
“We know that our influence and our leadership depends not only on our power, but also an appreciation of its limits and on the wise deployment of our influence, as well as working closely with partners in helping them build their capacity and capabilities.
Our experiences over the last decade have challenged us to use all our tools of foreign policy, including diplomatic, economic, trade, development assistance, and military power, use these powers more effectively and more in alignment with our partners and our friends.”
This is evident in our approach to Syria, as we continue to work with partners throughout the region to help bring about a political settlement to end this conflict. We also have seen some success in negotiating with Iran to stop any further expansion of its nuclear program, though keeping in mind that this is but one aspect of Iran’s destabilizing influence in the region.
As we have for the past 30 years, the United States proposes to continue, and even expand, our close cooperation with the Persian Gulf States.
“Nations are stronger -- not weaker, stronger -- when they work [for] common interests,” said Secretary Hagel. “America's commitment to this region is proven and it is enduring.”