The Camp David Order and the United States
We are not going to be able to enjoy a peaceful and prosperous region unless the United States, who staged two military interventions in the Middle East in the last decade alone, restores its rather contorted relationship with the Middle East.
This is not to say that a peaceful and democratic region depends solely on America’s position. However, we will be forced to live with the corpse of the Camp David Order, not being able to get rid of it, unless the United States swallows the political and economic changes being experienced in our region. What should our most basic question be, then? The question is this: Will the U.S. swallow the uprisings in the Middle East, and their consequences?
If the initial answer is “No, the U.S. cannot cope with these changes,” then the above question has three answers from the perspective of the United States: Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iran. If you cannot see how the Camp David Order is fading away, then you must be practicing the approach of either Saudi Arabia, Iran or Israel. If this is too confusing, we could even reduce the answers to one: the al-Assad answer.
Today, the three approaches that equally misread the changes occurring in the region, despite their various reasons, belong to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iran. And a crystallized manifestation of the old order blending different characteristics of these three approaches is represented by al-Assad or Syria. The U.S. will either blatantly resist, like Israel, the new Middle East and its actors, or mistakenly perceive itself, like Saudi Arabia, as the decider of who gets to have change, who is given democracy, and when. Or, like Iran, it will perceive every little development in the region as an opportunity for a selfish strategic move that could be disastrous for the future of the region. Or even, the U.S. could resemble al-Assad, by continuing to claim to want change while ferociously resisting it.
The choices might not have been as black and white for the U.S. as outlined above. However, it is not possible for an actor that has been involved in the politics of the region since the 1940s and which has insisted on the Camp David Order for the last thirty years, to develop policy in the grey areas. The global and regional developments tell us we are on the verge of structural turning points. In the words of Brezezinki, in his recently published work: “One should be mindful of the fact that in the course of only one century - from approximately 1910 to 2010 - the ranking hierarchy of global power changed significantly no less than five times, with all but the fourth signaling a divisive deterioration in the global preeminence of the West.”
It is not possible for the political structure of our region to remain frozen in time, as it was constructed in the First World War and shaped by the Camp David order after 1978, while the whole world is undergoing major structural changes. Washington is left to face the people in a storyline in which the regional puppet actors have left the stage one by one. There is no longer a Mubarak who will attract and absorb the anger of the people for America. The U.S. needs to focus on compensating the dire consequences of the Camp David order, instead of focusing on filling the void left by Mubarak. America will only then - if indeed it wants - be free from the three answers or the single al-Assad answer outlined above!