Strategy and Politics: A U.S. Perception
The importance of the Middle East for the world economy and balance of power has grown dramatically. The importance of oil and gas are obvious to all, even as oil glut reduces one element of international anxiety. The study of Middle East politics can be confusing and charged with emotion. Many observers focus on the political slogans pronounced daily by governments in many Middle Eastern capitals. Others stress the importance of various extremist forces, such as religious fundamentalism or Arab radicalism. In the Middle East, which is rife with rivalries for regional preeminence, histories of conflict, and increasing amounts of violence, the principal factor affecting the policy calculations of the leaders is most often their perception of the balance of power. The peace process is an integral component of the US Middle East strategy. The United States remains ready to reengage in the peace process in order to bring about direct negotiations between the parties.