(MENAFN- Asia Times) While Israel focuses on hostage rescue in Gaza and, eventually, on destroying Hamas, its main ally, the United States, is working to fashion a post-war peace solution that will support its own broader goals.
Washington fears that the Gaza war has placed a significant obstacle to one of President Joe Biden's major foreign policy projects: to reduce America's military resources in, and attention to, the Middle East and pivot them to East Asia to better contain and confront China's threat.
The need to shift attention to East Asia was first enunciated during the presidency of George W Bush in the early 2000s. But Bush's post 9/11 wars in Afghanistan and Iraq derailed any significant shift of military resources eastward.
His successor, Barack Obama, made only minor transfers of military force from the Middle East to Asia. Finally, Donald Trump, though he launched a low-intensity trade war with China, found his main foreign achievement in the Middle East by convincing two Arab countries, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, to establish relations with Israel.
Almost three years into Biden's term, US military officials are beginning to express the perceived need to increase America's attention on a potential confrontation with China rather than obsess about terrorism and instability in the Middle East.
Just four days before Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, Lieutenant General Alexus Grynkewich, the top US Air Force commander in the Middle East, warned that China was attempting to“displace” American influence in the region.
“Where economic interests start, military interests will follow to protect those economic interests,” he said.“There is a risk of Chinese expansion into the region militarily.”
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