U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday wrapped up his first trip to the Middle East since taking office with a lukewarm response from regional countries, once again proving that the U.S. self-absorbed pursuit of unilateral dominance is unwelcome.
Though Biden sought to start a "new chapter" in U.S. involvement in the region, the rhetoric was overshadowed by the fact that Washington regards the countries in the Middle East as its tools, ready to abuse or abandon at will.
Despite the high profile, the core of Biden's visit to the Middle East is to seek political gains and maintain America's influence there.
During his visit, Biden tried hard to push Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states to pump more oil to ease inflationary pressures at home. He also attempted to incite several regional countries to counterbalance Iran and Russia, and peddle the idea of an anti-Iran military bloc, which is called by many as the Middle East version of NATO.
No matter how the U.S. side cajoled and nudged, the countries in the region responded tepidly. Biden neither succeeded in his bid to form a regional military alliance against Iran nor convinced Saudi Arabia to act immediately to raise its oil output.
Why? The fundamental reason is that Washington's hegemonic thinking and confrontational approach counter the region's aspirations for development, cooperation and peace.
The world now faces major challenges caused by COVID-19 and geopolitical struggle. The international community must focus on reviving the world economy, achieving food security and safeguarding public health. Washington is going against the common aspiration worldwide by trying to use the Middle East as a stage for geopolitical games among major powers.
Biden's stance of pseudo-neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian issue has been exposed again during the visit, which sent the Palestinians to the street for protests. The United States "ignoring the simmering tension, violence and injustice that dominate the Israeli and Palestinian reality will further the continuing deterioration of the status quo between the parties," The Washington Post said in a recent opinion piece.
Over the years, the United States has wantonly meddled in the affairs of the Middle East, waged wars and imposed unilateral sanctions in the region, causing massive civilian deaths and displacement of refugees. Its true face as a "troublemaker" has become increasingly clear to the people of the Middle East.
Amid rising global difficulties and after decades of war and strife, what people in the Middle East truly want is peace, security and development. Apparently, the United States can bring anything but those.