The Vanishing Role of America in the Middle East
Might the upcoming U.N. vote over a resolution to declare a new Palestinian state further isolate the U.S. in the Middle East? That is a distinct possibility, according to the former head of Saudi Arabian intelligence, Turki al-Faisal.
Al-Faisal has warned that an American vote against Noten Palestinian membership in the U.N. (being proposed with this resolution) would end the “special relationship” between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, and it will make the U.S. “toxic” in the Middle East. In other words, al-Faisal warned that a U.S. vote against the proposed Palestinian resolution at the U.N. will cause American influence to further decline in the Middle East.
The warning comes as the White House is scrambling to prevent that vote from even coming up by motivating Palestinian leadership to drop this issue. Otherwise, if the vote does take place, the Obama administration will find itself behind a rock and a hard place, forced to choose between standing up for Israel, or aligning itself with the pro-Palestinian contingent.
Based on the fact that the Congress is so pro-Israel that both the House and the Senate have voted to possibly cut off U.S. aid to the Palestinians if the PA goes through with this vote, the Obama administration cannot afford to vote against Israel on this issue. Thus, it appears that further isolation in the Middle East is in store for the U.S.
This would not be the first step toward isolation in the Middle East for the Obama administration. Missteps in the peace process have succeeded in costing America influence in the region. The public condemnations of Israel, the handling of the construction moratorium in Jerusalem, and the pressure on Israeli leadership for more concessions, while requiring nothing of the Palestinians, all served to turn Israel away from the White House. But the handling of the building moratorium-the “on again off again” stance-also cost respect among Arab states.
Then there was the handling of the Mubarak situation. Just a few days before pressuring Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly announced that the administration was fully supporting the Egyptian president.
Now, according to Robert Satloff, director of The Washington Institute, the collapse of Egypt could bring about the collapse of America’s standing in the Middle East. Satloff believes that “everything America has accomplished in the Middle East during the last thirty years has been built on the foundation” of peaceful relations between Egypt and Israel (the Camp David Accords) and moving Egypt from a Soviet client to an American ally.
Satloff may be right, but it already appears that the U.S. has lost its standing with Egypt. However, it began to lose its standing in the Middle East even prior to Egypt’s fall into political disrepair.
This is not to say that President Obama is entirely responsible for America’s standing in the Middle East; after all, some of that is beyond his control. However, it is fully within God’s control. We know from Scripture that God is in full control over all things. For example, the Bible shows us that no authority exists without God granting that authority (cf. Romans 13:1), and no one attains authority of any kind except that God puts that person in power (see Daniel 2:21; John 3:27; 19:11; etc.). In addition, God works through the authorities He has put in power to accomplish exactly what He wants to accomplish (cf. Proverbs 21:1). Thus, we need to recognize that He put the president in his position of authority, and He brought about the current U.S. situation in the Middle East for His good purpose.
Based on God’s sovereignty then, the question that springs forth is: Why? Why has God brought the U.S. to this position? Since God is multi-purposed, that question could have several answers attached to it.
One answer has to do with Bible prophecy. In fact, the fall of the U.S. influence in the Middle East was to be expected by those who understand end-times Bible prophecy. The United States is absent from Bible prophecy; and since the Middle East (particularly Israel) is at the center of the prophetic picture, it makes all of the sense in the world that the U.S. would lose its ascendancy in the region.
Yet another answer also relates to Bible prophecy, which deals with the vanishing role of the world’s superpower. End-times Bible prophecy has no room for a superpower in its fulfillment; in fact, a superpower would stand in the way of the emergence of a man predicted to rule the world (as presented in Revelation 13). There have been indications of this vanishing role of the U.S.-both politically and economically. Certainly, America’s vanishing role in the Middle East, which will be a center of power for the “beast” of Revelation, is one aspect of this fulfillment. (This may also achieve fulfillment if the U.S. economy goes through the kind of Armageddon that has been predicted by some economists.)
A third answer could be based on God’s warning in Genesis 12:3, where He announces that He will bring trouble on anyone who brings trouble to Israel. Not only does the Israeli leadership believe the U.S. president has been a trouble-maker for the Jewish nation, but so does the general populace.