The geopolitical competition between world powers was at its most intense in the year 2022. At a time when the United States is grappling with Russia on Ukrainian soil, China, which is under American pressure in Taiwan and the Pacific, is moving to expand its political and economic influence in the Middle East, which for decades has been a place of exclusivity and hegemony. American.
Western analyzes agree that American influence in the Middle East and the world has begun to erode with the intensification of the conflict with both China and Russia, and their evidence for this is the humiliating American withdrawal from Afghanistan and Washington’s failure to mobilize the world against Moscow against the background of the war in Ukraine, as well as the Chinese economic rise and expansion in Middle East and Africa at the expense of the American downturn.
Richard Haass, President of the American Council on Foreign Relations and one of the theorists of American foreign policy, warned of the decline of US influence in the world with the emergence of features of the new world order due to the return of tensions between the great powers after it was often believed that these tensions might end with the end of the Cold War.
He pointed out that Washington finds itself today in a position where it must confront two hostile powers together, namely Russia and China, and two regional powers, Iran and North Korea.
This prompted Washington to reaffirm its presence, especially after the Russian war in Ukraine, so it mobilized its allies in NATO and abroad against Russia, which has strengthened its presence in the Middle East and the Mediterranean since 2015 by entering the war on the side of the Syrian state in the face of terrorists and Washington's proxies, and establishing advanced military bases on Warm waters and the deployment of its fleet equipped with advanced hypersonic missiles in the Mediterranean.
The struggle for influence escalated in June, when three summits were held, one for NATO in Madrid, another for the Americas in Los Angeles, and a third for BRICS in Beijing.
After the escalation of the Russian-Western war in Ukraine, Washington mobilized NATO countries in Madrid (June 2022) to strengthen the alliance's strength in the face of Moscow and develop a new strategy until 2030, opening the door to the accession of Finland and Sweden and pledging to provide more weapons to Ukraine.
The summit concluded that “Russia is the most important and direct threat to the security of the allies,” and that “deepening the strategic partnership between Russia and China constitutes a challenge to the interests of the alliance.”
The United States also rushed to hold the ninth summit of the Americas in early June 2022 with the aim of strengthening its influence over the South American continent and preventing the penetration of Russian influence after an overwhelming victory for the leftists in the largest American countries, but the summit was subjected to strong shocks before it began, as the Mexican president announced its boycott due to Washington’s refusal to invite presidents Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.
The BRICS virtual summit hosted by Beijing in the same month came to confirm the expansion of the rising Russian-Chinese influence, especially with strong news about the intention of Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Argentina to join the large economic alliance, which constitutes a major economic force based on partnership and openness in the face of the alliances led by Washington.
After a clear estrangement between the United States and Saudi Arabia, US President Joe Biden traveled to Riyadh (July 2022) in an attempt to confirm the American presence on the one hand, and confront the energy crisis that began looming in Europe and the world as a result of the sanctions imposed by Western countries on Russian oil and gas on the one hand. Secondly, considering Riyadh and the Gulf states one of the most important energy providers in the world.
But Biden returned with nostalgia, as he was unable to obtain a pledge from Saudi Arabia to increase the volume of oil production, nor was he able to pull the Gulf countries to line up with Washington against Moscow. The Gulf countries maintained an independent position on the Russian-Ukrainian war, which was considered a precedent in the Gulf-US relationship.
The United States wanted to invest in the “Iranian threat,” which has been intimidated for years, to create an Arab-Israeli alliance against Tehran, but it also stagnated after the Jordanian King Abdullah II promoted it and Washington strongly supported it.
In exchange for Biden's visit to Riyadh, a few days later, the Russian-Iranian-Turkish summit was held in Tehran, to confirm that US influence in the region faces challenges, and that it is unacceptable after today for the US to violate the world and the Middle East region in particular without taking into account the interests of other powers.
Not only did China and Russia do that, but a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (mid-September 2022) was held in Uzbekistan with the participation of the leaders of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, India and Uzbekistan, in addition to observer countries, namely Belarus, Mongolia, Iran, and invited countries, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, to enhance and develop trade and industrial cooperation. As well as discussing the most prominent regional and global problems, including the challenges posed by the Russian-Western war in Ukraine.
Many believe that the summit is a Chinese-Russian attempt to strengthen the Eurasian presence in the face of the American Western influence extending towards the Russian-Chinese borders, and a space for dialogue and building relations on the basis of justice, cooperation and partnership with the aim of creating alliances capable of displacing Western hegemony based on the self-capabilities of the major regional countries with the support of Russia and China. .
However, Washington, which paid attention to the Russian-Chinese expansion in the African continent, has awakened to the importance of the continent in its economic and political dimension after neglect for years, and hosted the second US-African summit in mid-December 2022, eight years after the first summit held under President Barack Obama in 2014.
And the US Secretary of Defense warned before the summit that Chinese and Russian influence “could be destabilizing” in it.
At the summit, the US administration pledged to “allocate $55 billion to invest in Africa over three years,” according to the White House, and Washington’s support for Africa to obtain a permanent seat on the Security Council, in an attempt to lure the continent away from Moscow and Beijing.
However, the end of the summit war in 2022 was very disturbing to Washington, as the three Arab-Chinese summits (December 2022) that Chinese President Xi Jinping held in Saudi Arabia (the Arab-Chinese summit, the Gulf-Chinese summit, and the Saudi-Chinese summit) and economic partnerships came The strategy that was reached is a painful blow to Washington, which until very recently considered the Arab Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, as its exclusive vital domain in the Middle East.
The Chinese president's visit to Riyadh was a great shock to Washington, especially since the summit affirmed the firm commitment of the Arab countries to the principle of one China, and that Taiwan is an integral part of Chinese territory, in a strong blow to the American attempts to support Taiwan's independence from China and destabilize it.
Undoubtedly, the summit war is a frantic struggle for influence and interests, even if it is devoid of the sounds of guns, planes, and missiles. Many modern wars are fiercer than military wars, and Washington has excelled in them for decades, but time today is not in its favour.