The GSD, or Gulf Security Dialogue, is a loose organizational mechanism through which the United States and the six member nations of the GCC can engage in dialogue about regional defense, security, and counter-proliferation, among any other pertinent issues. Centerpiece to current dialogue revolves around Iran’s regional assertiveness. As the probability of a nuclear powered, and equipped, Iran looms over the region, the United States has assumed the role of mediator. The cooperation between the U. S. and the GCC is currently undermined by shortsighted foreign policy coming from the Obama administration.
If the goal of the United States is to obstruct aggressive Iranian foreign policy, then it is necessary to gain the respect and legitimate actionable response of the GCC nations in order to maintain a positive sphere of influence over the region. Obtaining this level of respect and cooperation requires that U. S. foreign policy induce confidence by showing firm dialogue towards Iran, and that it be met by a solid military footprint. Numerous actions last year have given the impression of a shrinking and weakening U. S. defensive presence in the Middle-East.
While some, such as the continued troop withdrawal from Iraq, have their own merits, they subsequently and unintentionally embolden Iran. Iran has reportedly been conducting increased operations within Iraq. President Ahmadinejad has been completely unresponsive to President Obama’s democratic outreach for vowed peace. Agreements that have allowed some of Iran’s nuclear enrichment to be outsourced, as well as their nuclear facilities inspected, are merely prolonging the inevitable if these policies are kept as is. Without striking a balance, the administration runs the risk of losing the faith of the GCC.
The strides that the U. S. and GCC have made thus far, such as through arms sales and interoperable defense, may be in vein as the GCC sees Iranian influence overwhelm a quiet response from Washington. If Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain should find a stronger, more secure future by giving in to Iranian pressure, it may jeopardize the United States’ ability to police and deter Iran’s nuclear ambitions without full scale war. There is evidence for such risk. Qatar and the UAE have discussed increased trade cooperation with Iran, as well as expressed approval of President Ahmadinejad’s reelection.
U. S. policy needs to do away with concessions that are gratifying and substantial in the short-term, but appear to lack any planning for the long-term. They undermine those who are making real attempts at peace and stability. The conflict will end when sturdy alliances exist, coupled with unwavering convictions to see Iran’s aggressive nuclear and isolationist policies cease. With every concession the U. S. offers up , it is sending the message to the GCC that there is effectively a mutual respect involved with the way America treats its enemies and its allies. Until this changes, the GSD is anything but sturdy.