LSE Middle East Centre | Trump and the Middle East: Personality, Ideology and Militarisation

LSE Middle East Centre | Trump and the Middle East: Personality, Ideology and Militarisation



my name is rickshaw Toby's going to talk for about 50 minutes I've been instructed to ask all of you that have mobile devices to turn them off or to turn to silent now some of you may know may know Toby from his many media appearances or your student of Toby but for those of you who don't know Toby or as I should formally announce him professor Toby dodge the great professor and director of the LRC's Middle East Center and a professor in the international relations department here at the LSE Toby's also senior consulting fellow for the Middle East the instant International Institute for Strategic Studies his research concentrates on the evolution of the post-colonial States and in the International System with the main focus obviously on the Middle East and in particular Iraq and I know he's got some interesting people in his sort of Filofax of diary entries David Petraeus and and many others that he may make reference to today's lecture so he's going to talk for 50 minutes then I have plenty of time for for Q&A and I'll run through the protocol for Q&A at the time so over to you Toby okay well thank you for all everyone for turning out in such large numbers it's nice to see a big audience that raises the bar so hopefully I can get over that but especially thank you to my friend and former colleague and indeed expert himself on u.s. foreign policy Rick's oil for agreeing to chair this event and of course like all good academics I want to get my excuses in first yeah so first if we were looking at history the history of the Trump administration I think it's been moving especially quickly in Washington DC and I don't want to be outflanked by its marching legions so let's focus on this picture for a moment that was taken ten months ago in the very early days of Trump at Trump's term it shows President Trump himself vice president Mike Pence sitting in the Oval Office whether the then National Security Advisor Mike Flynn Priebus the chief of staff the White House press secretary in acting White House communications director Sean Spicer and its chief grata gist Steve Bannon Flynn was fired as we know in February 2017 for repeatedly lying to the vice president about his Russian and now it turns out Turkish contacts Sean Spicer apart from being a figure of mirth on suddenly Night Live was sacked in July 2017 and replaced by the wonderful Antony scaramouche II he was removed from his post after being in the job only ten days in July chief of staff Priebus was also sacked and steve Bannon left on the 18th of august james comey the FBI director was sacked in May it's proving a little bit difficult to keep up and so from this picture only the president and the vice president remain and if we were looking at the press coverage over the last couple of days the President and Secretary of State boasting about their intellectual prowess one wonders how long Rex Tillerson can remain in his job secondly and I think more seriously for the academics and those smart people amongst you studying from Policy Analysis at the Masters level secondly the Trump administration poses an analytical problem for academics working within the discipline of foreign policy analysis because of its incoherence the president's personality clearly dominates the government in an unpredictable and uninstall a morning communications via Twitter represent an unmediated stream of consciousness which frequently undermines if not totally destroys official policy and the statements of asthenia staff this is given rise to competing analytical conclusions about the direction of Trump's foreign policy with a new consensus emerging especially after the appointment of the retired four-star Marine General John Kelly as wife ha White House chief of staff on the 31st of July and then the subsequent sacking of Steve Bannon two weeks later so what I'm arguing here is that we may be in a consolidation period where the the the the direction and the drivers of the Trump administration may be more visible now this has given rise to a a new consensus may be personified by Elliott Abraham's and we must remember the rejected by Trump to serve as the Deputy Secretary of State for the Middle East now he argues quote it is already clear that this is not a revolutionary administration the broad lines of its policy fit easily within though it within the last few decades Trump might not be a conventional president but so far has the killer lion his foreign policy has been remarkable remarkably unremarkable now Gregory gorse a professor nm who may well be known to you well it's very well on the International Relations of the Middle East argues quote with very won him with one very important exception and despite a number of rhetorical and stylistic differences the Trump administration's approach to the Middle East is not substantially different from that of the Obama administration and Mark Lynch says something similar what I would want to argue is I'd want to disagree with this analysis I think a close examination of both the ideology strikes shaping White House decision-making and more importantly for tonight its application to the Middle East shows the profound difference of this administration from its predecessors but also more importantly the instability that has directly flowed from these differences and may well increase so what I'm going to try and do tonight is take you through my argument in a game of two halves firstly I want to make this argument by looking at the incoherence but then the ideology and the militarization of the Trump administration these are my big three big driving themes and then I want to see depending on the tolerance of the chair and how quickly I speak if I can lay this out and put in Trump's policy firstly towards the states of what used to be called the Gulf Cooperation Council then Iran then the fight against the Islamic state and then policy towards Syria I want to conclude by speculating in a rather bold and somewhat unhinged way about what Trump's Fronde policy says more generally about a workers go global decline and place in the world so first let's look at the undeniable 'ti the incoherence of Trump's foreign policy so the White House under Trump is a workplace where job duties remain unclear morale among a lot of the junior and mid-ranking staff is low and factionalism and division is still high visitors to the White House who struck were hats hired a staff look and with the outflow of senior managers who can blame them this is firstly because of Trump's own style of management Trump has become increasingly vexed by the challenges and the scale of the government he's now in charge of the new president's allies say he's been surprised that government can't be run like his own business in the top-down highly personalized way he's growing increasingly frustrated that the complexities of running this massive federal bureaucracy elude him he can't get hold of it and Trump's lack of interest in in the details of public policy has prevented him from translating his campaigning slogans into anything approaching a concrete policy instead he has shown something that you could argue amounts to almost complete flexibility on issue after issue he's changed his mind and he's contradicted or ditched previous policy Trump's use of Twitter has outflanked his aides heads of department and indeed hold government institutions these sporadic treats off the cut tweets off-the-cuff remarks at campaign-style rallies and press conference diatribes and nonetheless critical communications because they speak of the administration's intent and its possible future behavior whether tweets like the presidential directive by tweet on transsexual serving in uniform or official is somewhat beside the point his inability to maintain on any issue a consistent or even coherent position as undercut crucially I think as we'll see over the next few weeks on Iran policy his ability to build coalitions in Congress and therefore get was passed on foreign policy I would argue he's made no sustained attempt to articulate a doctrine or even delineate a worldview on trade he's made no contraband comprehensible case for an American retrench meant from the global economy beyond his assertion and assertion as we'll see in a minute long running that other countries are taking advantage of the US now this time the time it took for him to assemble an administration and then this rapid turnover in senior staff represents a deeper rift between Trump and the Washington establishment of both parties but in his case much more importantly the rift between him and the establishment of the Republican Party a reality-show businessman with no government experience mr. Trump was catapulted into power on the promise of breaking up the existing system now a new president typically needs to make four thousand appointments but with no coherent group of followers or allies all with past political service to call on he's had to start almost from scratch during president Trump's transition to power numerous front bench or reserve bench American foreign policy experts were rejected from posts in the new administration the reason was consistent they'd all said disparaging things about from during the campaign would signed these letters opposing him many Republicans further down the kind of pecking order may have agreed to work for the president were put off by his rhetoric by their racist rhetoric he used during the campaign and his erratic behavior since for the for Trump the challenge is more pronounced because he and his advisers feel they simply cannot trust the senior Kader of career professionals still working in the White House the national security and the National Security Council in the cabinet and this stream of leaks clearly coming from holdovers or civil servants has exacerbated that now if this wasn't bad enough the Russian scandal has sucked oxygen out of the House and the National Security Council and then too you have Flynn's resignation then on the fifth and on the 15th of May it was leaked that Trump had discussed highly secret information with the Russians that provide that were provided by an intelligence ally of the United States about the Islamic state and then finally to add it all from sac James Comey the FBI director triggering this wide-ranging investigation and now the grand jury that hangs over the administration like a potential sword of Damocles however beyond all that that I've laid out beyond this supposed chaos beyond the problem of the Russian administration beyond the in and out of of administration staffers I think there we can identify three coherent ideological trends shaping administration policy now obviously crucial to the policy this process is Trump himself now Trump may be an egotist he more certainly is a narcissist but he's also been remarkably consistent a close examination of all his public speeches and interviews since he first became a public figure in the New York real estate market in the early 1980s shows constant trends Trump has delivered the same message for over 40 years his worldview is zero-sum another country's benefit comes at America's extent he sees life to a certain extent as combat insofar as he plays pays attention to military and security affairs his main concern has been consistently that he believes the United States has been ripped off by allies who are free riding on america's protection and that the american standard of living has declined because comparatively fewer resources were available for consumption now if you don't believe me i take you back to 1987 when when Trump was flirting with a presidential run he spent $95,000 to publish a full page open letter in three newspaper he argued in 1987 quote the world is laughing at American politicians as we protect ships we don't own carry oil we don't need destined for allies who won't help end of code he focuses critique on affluent states like Japan this is during the first Gulf War which had which he argued had leaped to the forefront of world economies on the back of American generosity now today the target of his Claire of his accusations has shifted to China but the argument is still the same hence Trump overtly rejects the international liberal order that shaped international relations since 1945 and America's role at its central Trump does not believe in an open trading regime he does not care about the spread of democracy or the promotion of human rights abroad he's not invested in institutions of cooperative security that have been the basis the global peace since the end of the Second World War so unlike Trump's belief about trade Trump beliefs about immigration and his race at his adoption of a racist rhetoric during the election campaign can be identified as starting around 2011 and that may mean they're pragmatic he became an anti-immigrant populist to be able to mobilize Republican voters better than his competitors for the presidential nomination now beyond Trump's own personal beliefs his attacks on multiculturalism liberalism and internationalism draw on a distinct coherent narrative of US history that Walter Russell Mead as we probably all know has labeled Jacksonian coming from Andrew Jackson so for Jacksonians who form the core Meade argues Russell Mead argues of trumps electoral base the United States is not a political entity created and defined by a set of intellectual propositions rooted in the Enlightenment or some Universal mission rather it's simply a nation state of American people and it's chief business lies at home we then have the next man down ago I think till he was sacked was the most intellectually interesting of those that came to shape Trump's foreign policy Bannon Steve Bannon came to run from selection campaign from running the right wing website Breitbart news he supplied Trump with an off-the-shelf almost fully formed internally coherent worldview that accommodated Trump's own feelings about trade and foreign threats that Trump eventually dubbed American first nationalism everywhere Bannon looked in the modern world he saw signs of collapse and encroaching globalist order stamping out the last vestiges of what he saw as American traditional society Bannon saw evidence of Western collapse and influx of Muslim refugees and migrants across Europe in the United States what he termed quote a civilizational jihad personified by this migrant crisis end of quote bannon's response was a set of populist right-wing nationalist policies to build a bulwark against what he sought I saw as a destructive modernity wherever he could he aligned himself with politicians and causes that committed to tearing down what he saw as a globalist edifice finally just days before he was sacked Bannon argued in an inter interview quote that the economic war with China is everything and we have to maniacally focus on that if we continue to lose it we've got five years I think ten years at most of hitting an inflection point or we'll never be able to recover so if we have Trump as this kind of manic reality show businessman we then have Bannon as an extreme conservative ideologue finally we have HR McMaster that the the final ideological trend is represented by the so called quote axis of adults senior figures that Trump is so heavily relied on centrally lieutenant-general HR McMaster the National Security Advisor now on one hand McMaster is a career soldier has spent the majority of his life in the millet involved in multilateral coalition's first fighting the 1991 Gulf War then serving under David Petraeus from 2007 onwards in both Iraq and Afghanistan Oh someone that we can rely on however at the end of May 2007 he published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal America first doesn't mean America alone where he attempted to define the administration's foreign policy this critiqued the Obama administration and argued that the Trump administration was working hard to restore confidence in American leadership okay good news however it went on to push American allies to quote share equitably the responsibility for our mutual defense and finally the payoff argument controversially was quote the world is not a global community but an arena where nations non-governmental actors and businesses engage and compete in advantage now this is a really important quote clearly he was attempting to channel Trump's own worldviews codify them and consolidate them but it was clearly placing a limit on America's commitment to a glitz a global leadership we're all alliances are formed to directly benefit the u.s. to be self-seeking and hence ultimately temporary McMaster was certainly channeling the views of his boss but the vision that he laid out was one if enacted that would place firm limits on America's commitment to delivering World Order a priority prioritizing transactional short term relationships where shifting alliances are temporally created to suit America's needs and I'll get to the Gulf in a minute where I think we see this playing out we then go to the militarization of all kind of trumps foreign policy decision making machine so not only HR McMaster but James mattis Secretary of Defense as a retired Marine general John Kelly the comparatively new White House chief of staff was also a Marine now there are clearly instrumental reasons for this dominance of the military serving soldiers find it very difficult if not impossible to refuse a president who asked to work for them they thus form a ready pool of senior staff into which Trumpkin can dip can take people from because he hasn't got this bench of Republican stalwarts however there is this it clearly represents a militarization of farm policy as a deliberate presidential aim in February 2017 Trump claimed that the budget he sent to Congress contains one of the largest defense spending increases in history and later he handed a series of new wartime authorities to the Pentagon in conjunction with that he also proposed a cut of 30 percent to the State Department a push to eliminate some 2,300 jobs this is combined with vacancies for many senior state department posts in the summer at least including 20 of 22 assistant secretary positions work eyeing Senate confirmation unfulfilled ambassadors are roughly standing at 30% of the total of American ambassadors so to some at this point we have an American administration which is certainly dysfunctional with the president famed for his inconsistency however the administration is also driven by three major ideological influences we have a president who's long been convinced that the US has been exploited by free-riding states who have benefited from its American largesse without contributing themselves this prison also believes that the terms of international trade have been unfairly fixed to disadvantage the u.s. he has a much lighter commitment to u.s. role in underpinning the stability of the international system we then have Steve Bannon who gave Trump is ideological coherence and Salah first solidified the electoral base that delivered him to the White House by focusing on white nationalism anti-immigration and strong borders Bannon was overtly hostile to a globalist agenda of multilateralism and finally we have HR McMaster who stressed this realist assertion that America's role in the world is driven by maximizing its own interests to the exclusion of others and downplaying long-term costly multilateral alignment alliances so finally after all that we get to the Middle East against this background president Trump made his first major foreign policy trip to the Middle East and specifically to Saudi Arabia in late May 2017 I think we should start by focusing on the incoherence of policymaking in the Trump administration ahead of that visit when the trip to when the trip to Riyadh was confirmed the Saudi government took the initiative interesting itself and sent three sets of PowerPoint briefing packs to the US government outlining what they wanted from a renewed strategic partnership with America this was large scale weapons sales but transactionally in return they offered increased Saudi investment in the United States but most important of all what we had wanted from Washington and from Trump's vision what to read was a new u.s. Saudi partnership in the Gulf itself overtly focused on containing Iran now my own research suggests that the National Security Council after this briefing package briefing packs arrived met three times at the principal level that Secretary of State second ear defense and a national security adviser in the run-up to the trip in an attempt to agree a coherent consensus based strategy on this third issue around this new renewed alliance towards Iran but against Iran but failed to come up with a response which had been stressed tested one in which the long-term ramifications of this new alliance had been worked out Trump then delivered his first major speech on US policy towards the Middle East in Riyadh on the 21st of May all the big themes of the Trump administration's approach to internationally were clearly spelled out in that speech America first militarization and the trans action 'el basis to diplomacy now let's look at the transactional relationship with a GCC first in Trump speech in Riyadh he announced yesterday we have signed historic agreements with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that will invest four hundred billion dollars in our two countries this landmark agreement includes the announcement of a hundred and ten billion Saudi funded defense purchases they invest in our country we give them all the weapons they need now intriguingly before meeting to mean the Emir of Qatar the next day from added one of the beautiful one of the things that we will discuss is the purchase of lots of beautiful military equipment because no one makes it like the United States the second big theme is a complete indifference to State Society relations in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council to quote Trump again we are not here to lecture we are not here to tell others how people other people how to live what to do who to be or how to worship instead we are here to offer partnership based on shared interests and shared values we seek partners not perfection in our allies who share our goals Trump went on to meet King Hamad of Bahrain a country that has a God that is profoundly profoundly divided and as a dreadful human rights record and he says quote there has been a little strain between the u.s. and Bahrain but there won't be any strain with this administration he then gave his backing to a saudi-led US backed coalition against Iran again to quote until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran denied funding for terrorism and pray for the day when the Iranian people have a just and righteous government that they deserve end of quote now in case you missed it that was a call for regime change one of the primary goals of Trump's trip was to solidify the emerging alignment between Israel and the Arab states of the Gulf against Iran after a meeting with the Israeli president Trump suggested the Arab states like Saudi Arabia were ready to make peace with Israel because of their shared antipathy with Iran now some not only gave his blessing on my reading of that speech to a regional cold war but to a struggle that will undoubtedly exacerbate sectarian tensions it would also reduce the the ability of individual Gulf Cooperation States to develop a more balanced relationship with Iran the smaller states of the GCC Kuwait Oman gatah that I'll get to in a minute will have to be forced or feel pressured to align with the more aggressive policies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates the result will be increased instability and Excel and I would argue in retaliation accelerated Iranian interference in the GCC states however the dispute with Gaza was the most damaging short-term outcome of Trump's trip to the region against this background given the inconsistent messaging from the Trump administration it is not unreasonable to assume that the Saudi and Emirati leaders thought they'd been given at least a tacit greenlight from the new President to escalate their conflict with Gaza early on in the crisis on the 5th of June Secretary of State Tillison appealed for reconciliation the blockade he argued was quote impairing the US and other international business activities barely an hour later after his Secretary of State had appealed for moderation Trump called Cather quote a funder of terrorism at a very high level Trump bucked convention and the advice of his own government by contradicting his Secretary of State and labeling gaeta a state sponsor of terrorism he also undermined the coherence of the US government backing the idea backing away from the proposals that put forward by Madison Tillotson now if you're sitting in Abu Dhabi or Rio and you all come at you're pushing a very aggressive policy to bring data into line who you gonna listen to the Secretary of Defense the Secretary of State who are both arguing moderation and negotiation or the president who's calling your enemies state sponsors of terrorism so Trump special for off-the-cuff remarks and tweets is certainly complicated the resolution of this issue until it's and finally visited the Gulf almost two months after the crisis began unsurprisingly he returned empty-handed in no small part because Riyadh and Abu Dhabi saw no reason to sign up to his mediation plan when they could outflank him go straight to trump and almost certainly get the answers they wanted this shows just how destabilizing transactional foreign policy can be when married with a US government by tweets and the deinstitutionalization of policymaking at the highest level in Washington now I think we then go on to policy towards Iran which is if anything more destabilizing than policy towards a Jacek GCC now general mattis and McMaster spent their formative years in senior combat roles in Iraq after 2003 before the u.s. drawdown in 2011 this means basically they were in direct competition for influence within the country with the Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and the forces of the Kurds brigade of the Revolutionary Guard they personally feel that they've lost a lot of American soldiers under their command as a direct result of her Iranian actions in Iraq and passive responses by the Obama administration I would gently suggest this doesn't lead to dispassionate foreign policymaking in August 2010 shortly after taking control of Central Command mattis was asked by President Obama what he thought the top three threats in his region of responsibility which stretches let us not forget from Egypt the the former Soviet republic of kazakhstan and includes active war zones in Iraq Syria and Afghanistan his response to Obama's question was quote number one Iran number two around number three around as the head of CENTCOM mattis proposed a radical escalation an expansion of the conflict via direct strikes inside Iran the Obama administration possibly unsurprisingly removed him as CENTCOM commander five months early in part because of the president's disapproval of his proposal to escalate the conflict now in his own remarks in Riyadh Trump signaled his intention to end engagement with Iran suggesting that it does not encourage chained and change inside the country Trump's speech to the United Nations General Assembly on the 19th of September went on to call the nuclear nuclear accord with Iran the joint comprehensive plan of action quote one of the worst most one-sided transactions the US has ever entered into quite frankly said it's an embarrassment Secretary of State Tillotson on the margins of the General Assembly that General Assembly said the u.s. wanted to quote revisit what he described as the flaws in the Accord even as he acknowledged Iran was abiding by its terms now a 2015 law sponsored by two senators the Democrat Cardin and the Republican caucus dictates that the u.s. president must recertify every 90 days as to whether Iran is in compliance with the jcpoa s terms but also whether it is invited in it whether the agreement is in supports the national security interests of the United States now as we know Trump recertified in April and then again in July he must do so again in four days time on the 15th of October and I'm the marching legions of history are out thanking me as I speak because he's going to give a major policy of policy speech on Iran tomorrow so within 24 hours you'll know that what I'm just about to say is right or not if he doesn't recertify the matter goes to Congress which would have 60 days to vote by simple majority 51 on whether to reimpose sanctions so a policy announcement is scheduled for tomorrow yet again it seems that trumps own administration is to being divided about how to proceed against their own Tillotson would oppose what has been arguing that the tear up the grim agreement would alienate allies and simply empower around to restart reproducing nuclear fuel secretary of defense mattis to add to the complexity of this affirm during a Senate Armed Services Committee on the 3rd of October during a hearing that staying in the jcpoa was in US national interests appearing alongside him Joe Dunford the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the agreement had delayed the development of nuclear capacity by Iran however the new White House strategy appears to want to decertify the agreement without pushing Congress to abandon it through reimposing sanctions so Trump wants not wants to say that the agreement isn't in u.s. vital national interests but then he doesn't want the Congress to vote the re-imposition of sanctions if you can get your head around that this camp at the at the center of this HR map master plans to reassure congressional Republicans virtually all of whom oppose the deal that this will herald a new campaign against Iran this campaign is at the center of masters around policy review due to be delivered to an unsuspecting public in October the new policies expected to target iranian-backed militias including Hezbollah and the finances that facilitate them it is also alleged to want to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization for the foot for the first time now what will this do I think again Trump is reckless in his policy and fueling instability there's no certainty the Congress won't simply reimpose sanctions thus breaking the deal there's also no certainty that Iran won't respond so that was fun if sanctions are imposed by walking away from the deal that's further destabilizing so the ramifications I would argue are more sanctions on Iran greater military tension in the Gulf especially around the Straits of Hormuz the freezing if not the outright failure of the Iran nuclear deal without any indication that the United States has a clear political or military strategy for mediating the risks and the threats involved in that now those are the big two points I think policy towards the Gulf Cooperation Council and policy towards Iran I'll jump through quickly policy towards the Islamic state and policy towards Syria and I can do it quickly because mattis himself and the Pentagon took over policy towards annex Tate despite Trump's campaign rhetoric they decided that the Obama administration's policy was working and they'll continue it but after the fall of Mosul with the Islamic states defeat in Raqqa nearly they control only 20% of the city there has been no consideration beyond the military defeat of the Islamic state about dealing with the political causes behind that either in Iraq which would be much more straightforward or in Syria it's very reminiscent of 2007 when the Bush administration led launched a military surge against the Iraqi Civil War and the key protagonist but didn't ever quite get round to dealing with the political causes underpinning that civil war pulled out in 2011 and we see the fall of Mosul in 2014 so they've through a very rough and ready military policy of air power and allies the ground they delivered a military victory but they haven't in any way dealt with the causes which I suspect means were destined for greater instability both in Syria and Iraq which brings us towards the policy in Syria surprisingly there was increased military action in early April with the launching of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against a Syrian Air Base in retaliation for the use of chemical weapons nikki Haley the US ambassador to the United Nations has cast doubt on assets legitimacy as Syria's leader heylia's and Haley had said that the unrest in Syria or the instability cannot end while Assad remains in power but against the background of an increased Iranian and Russian commitment to keeping Assad in power there's no clear policy about what the United States does to remove I said what the United States does to secure – to bring peace to Syria again you've got rhetorical flourishes but no central policy so let me conclude about all this I think what we've done I hopefully is outlined what drives Trump's foreign policy we've outlined it's instability the instability it's caused both from tomorrow onwards in Gulf relateable States relations with Iran but much more widely around relationship with the international community we've outlined what this transactional policy does for the relationship in inter intrastate relationship with the GCC between GATT and the rest of them but also Trump's relationship with key states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates but we haven't touched on why what does Trump represent and I think the rise of Trump needs to be understood against the background of the global financial and economic crisis of 2007 and eight but also conceptions of America's global economic decline now the United States clearly remains the richest and most powerful country in the world but its margins of preeminence have undoubtedly reduced China's GNP is now larger than the United States and America's share of global industrial production as less than 20% there is a persistently large deficit in the countries trade balance the widely held perception of a coming structural change in the world balance of economic and military power amongst the US public at large explains the appeal of a mirror of America first this this Trump electoral saw explosion the u.s. is no longer an unchallenged number-one or at least many Americans no longer perceive the United States as the lone hyper power without peer competitors large sections of the US population realized that many of their leaders seem and realize what many of their leaders seem unable to accept that even if the United States remains the strongest global power and their good reasons to believe it will Washington will be unable to exercise the influence it once enjoyed but simply the American era is over and Washington must devise a new grand strategy to deal with that situation and I think we see the two terms of Obama as both an attempt to develop a strategy but also the complexity and the failures in that but took the first term of Trump and there could well be a second is and just in case so the the first term of Trump it's a much more ad-hoc ideological attempt to deal with that perception but at least from Trump and Bannen side from the fantasy of a transactional withdrawal from the world economy and I think from the master and the so-called axis of adult-sized an attempt to inject a new realism that the limits into that but then when we come to the Middle East we see this transactional shifting alliances have actually caused greater instability have empowered Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to pick on data for no good reason that I can see and it's also destabilized the one success of the Obama administration in the middle-east the Iran nuclear deal which had I think undeniably stopped Iran moving towards proliferation had taken the nuclear worry off the table and is now going to put that Anna Ron's role at the center of instability in the region back centrally on the table and it seems that the US government has no solutions to dealing with that thank you very much Thank You Toby and perfect timing so we've got plenty of time for questions and discussion something I forgot to mention earlier if you want to tweet about this event the hashtag is LSE Trump in terms of the Q&A if you can just stick to to one question I'm just to ensure that we draw in as many people into discussion as possible and obviously don't get into extended commentary on Toby's presentation I'll try and keep Toby to concise answers as well you can also you know when you do your question introduce yourself and any affiliation that you may have so what sort of two or three okay yep yeah we're gonna use a mic so just wait for the mic Thanks unfair diaspora I'm a PhD student at the era C's Department of International history my question is how does this analysis of Trump and his foreign policy fit into a changing regional environment in the Middle East I mean now so for the first time since 1970s mid 1970s we have this Russian presence in the region boasts both diplomatic and military so how does that this policy fit into that whole picture and on the regional powers I mean you've covered Iran but how about Turkey turkey is proven a very troublesome country for the United States it is deploying russian-made air defenses and as a NATO country that's almost a precedent and it's cutting deals in Syria and Iraq that work against US interest and just a quick purpley scarf and spectacles yeah and then we'll come to you yeah I'll be the first three thank you could be too cool Pass no affiliation could you comment if it doesn't cause too much trouble on the economic dynamic between Canada and America and complications that arise from Canadian economic interests in the Middle East which might clash with Americas you want to give me a specific example I'm thinking of chemical in particular I think that's a Canadian company but I'm not sure thank you very much my name is spelled Ruby and I'm in the MSC and I are at LSE in just joined the FPA class congratulations thank you very much so maybe a few months ago you also read an article in The New York Times about how less informed Trump was compared to Barack Obama because it didn't like to read and didn't read policy briefs and policy reports and intelligence briefs and asked for less text and more images I wanted to know how that may be less lower quality of information is impacting Trump's foreign policy and it's that if that's a concern thank you okay I think there were there were three questions from our bold question answer up there and you got away with this well you can so to answer one no no I'm struggling with the Canada once I'll answer these three I spent if I would if I were trying to think about the change of region changing regional environment I put it in in maybe three different aspects firstly the aftermath of the apps great spring where state legitimacy state coherence is up for grabs you collapse in Libya of obviously driven by the failed intervention claps in Syria claps and some really generation in in Iraq so you you have instability fear you have then under Obama in an attempt to deal with America's post 2008 shrinking position but long-term decline to try and limit limit America's involvement just as the Arab Spring explodes and then and so you have the outcomes of both of that state weakness and a reduced American presence two things happen I think it would take Turkey we could take the United Arab Emirates and then much laterally Saudi Arabia and the crown prince as starting to operate somewhat within their own gravitational pull to use a metaphor that as America's ambition reduced to it then under trumpets become much more transactional they've taken the space to assert themselves with absolutely catastrophic effects the intervention in Yemen is a disaster with the the further clips at collapse of Yemen with huge human suffering and no end in sight the strategic miscalculation of huge consequences I would argue on a much less scale they attempt to coerce the gaturro into some form of conformity is also an example of of a failure to do proper risk assessment and to work out your levers of power and how they work on a classic 101 foreign policy mistake and I suspect we'll see a few more internal economic performance at Arabia doesn't exactly fill me with optimism either given the Institute lack of institutional capacity so we have that secondly we have the moving-in of other states now in a book I edited not so long ago 2015 I think one of the chapters I think strongly argued that Russia's presence in the region along with China's was transactional and economic mainly with one glaring exception the exception is Syria now the Syrian intervention you could argue was create the Russian Syrian in spectrum was in in its first instance created by created by indecisive American policy they didn't I think quite right it was seeking to keep out but also then driven by what the Russians believe was the bad faith of the rebel the UN resolution around Libya basically we will draw a line we won't let this happen again especially to an ally so the the muscular intervention to bolster aside to save him because the regime was on the verge of collapse and then to bolster I think is an example of the off the the um the backlash against the Libyan resolution but also a sense that they could get away with it that America was operating in a lacunae so ok turkeys is amazing I think in not in a good sense I think that you you see who remembers zero problems with the neighbors who remembers the the the attempted or peace deal with the PKK we have something who remembers the heady days when turkey was unproblematically described as a democracy we see almost a Back to the Future moment of the personalization of an authoritarian regime centralizing power and using military coercion and repression to hold on to power now you could argue that's been a long time coming the signs have been there this is a an upswing of a policy that's been heralded for a long time that the United States and the international community precious that's the constrain now you could argue if the if mogherini was here or any representatives in the EU that the Syria crisis the the do we needed to do too on Syrian refugees was a pragmatic short-term deal that once stand up and was clearly to the detriment of you you policymaking and its ability to influence Turkish politics and I did dude it begs the question is Turkey's role in the region sustainable no I suspect it's turkeys is the AKP and arrogance rule in Turkey over the media to medium term sustainable really probably yes so I think that places key issues Russia in Syria to some extent Turkey Turkish meddling inconsistently in in Syria but more consistently in Iraq against a background of Obama's attempt to minimize American exposure and trumped incoherence but I would foreground much more sense Lee internal domestic dynamics now because Trump has a weak grip on the truth I shall outflank him and be very truthful so I can't answer your question on Canada America I was thinking while I was answering there about bluffing it but I want I just say what's your sense of it you ask the question don't get Toby hasn't asked what's your sense of it why is it important and there are like the financial sector the mining sector is and the uranium enrichment sector are international projects they don't respect any national boundaries and they're not interested in any regional power play other than where they can gain more more profits or sell their wares I'm not I don't I don't know in detail enough about the Canadian companies that are operating but I know that there I know enough that they're their interests are not always in parallel or in tandem with the US interests and in some respects may be more closely aligned to russia's interests for example or china's I think that's what's intriguing about transactional politics America first that basically if you are encouraging if you're encouraging states to deal with you on a short term interest driven basis that there is actually if you take it to its logical conclusion there are there is no u.s. guaranteed framework to stabilize their long term interactions then that's bound to have that effect that Canada other states Saudi Arabia whatever it is in the region are bound to take short term decisions make short term policies because long term partnership or indeed retribution in theory isn't deliverable so they're kind of hemorrhaging the fracturing of this post Second World War order seems to be the almost a logical and recognizable outcome of Trump celebrational transactional politics the question on Trump not reading his briefs I have two thoughts on that firstly the last president who was notoriously incurious was George Bush jr. that was swayed by big ideas bright colors big sloganeering we saw where that God now in the Trump administration up until the late summer you had two sets of very big ideas that I tried to indicate and he tried to indicate here and Bannen on one side and then the military on the other were in a fairly vicious war with Bannen quite transparency leaking falsehoods about McMaster lessor about matters and of course then Kelly coming to to become White House chief of staff remove ban on and stop there now what are we left with it the example I know is on the fringes in the Middle East which is McMasters but policy rethink on Afghanistan so to begin with there was a huge fight between ban who bats Trump's pledged just to pull out of Afghanistan and McMaster who spent maybe 30% of his adult army career in Afghanistan saying no it's much more complex than that not a good thing to say to Trump no no no there are bigger things at issue so apparently he got Trump's attention by showing pictures of 1960's Kabul where women were dressed in miniskirts as a symbol of a modern forward-leaning Trump like society that Afghanistan could return to now this is a fairly well substantiated I wouldn't call it fact but tale from the White House and so you have damages after they're documented screaming for it where Trump shouted at mcmaster told him to take his policy away because it was too complex and it wasn't radical enough so what does you bring back pictures photographs so you have a president who had deliberately set up two different wings of his own from policymaking because of the failure and incoherence Kelly shared away one of those and throw it out the White House still influential I think Benin but not a policymaker not gotten up the capacity to leak with that face and so now you have this so-called access of adults militarization senior military men driving policy forward on Afghanistan I think on around to a certain extent that they persuaded Trump to back but that no great sustained as far as I can see risk assessment has been put in place what happens when we abrogate Lee around you kill a deal what does that do or what happens when we sell as much weapons as Saudi Arabia can buy reminiscent of another country uniting before 1979 or were to suggest you what happens then no one seems to have been put in placed the risk mediation of the long term strategic thinking to answer those questions that's what happens when you get an incurious president who makes the policy by looking at picture so you've got chat there in the kind of green top yeah that's you so take another three yeah hello yeah all right user for no affiliation my question is what do you think of the new alliance in the Middle East between Israel and the Gulf states what's the potential there for stability in the region and the peace process and shouldn't we view that as a an achievement on the part of trumps foreign policy test no affiliation I had a similar question about Trump's foreign policy on israel-palestine Tom's foreign policy on Israel Palestine so if you could okay we'll get another question because they're two the same question okay so chap number the tile and the pink shirt then we'll get Chris Mashiro another two rounds these two rounds of questions if Toby can keep his comments concise sodunke per person Lloyds Banking Group so assuming that Trump doesn't get a second term in office do you think his successor is it plausible to think that his successor could potentially address some of these issues that you've touched upon this evening or has the damage already been done Chris here Phillips thanks um Chris Phillips Queen Mary as well similar question to the to these rail questions but I'm just almost from the US policy side of things and how much in your research Toby do you buy into the notion the the the tails wagging the dog in the sense of sort of both Saudi and Israel are great in influencing Trump's decision making with regard to around in the sense that if it strikes me that he seems to have literally bought hook line and sinker like you know policy off the shelf that greatly echoes both what Riyadh and Tel Aviv Jerusalem are saying and in which case it I was wondering what you thought all of Jared Kushner was in that because he seems very close to a madman Salman he's obviously sort of got links to Bibi Netanyahu and for a president as you say that's not really that interested in in complex ideas for you know a fourth perhaps ideologue you and your group to be there promoting a certain cardboard cutout view of of around and its role in the in the region I'm wondering whether that fits in with your analysis on all questions to I thought might come up so I made some notes so that every US president since Harry Truman has sought peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors every President Lyndon Johnson has opposed the building of Jewish settlements on land that Israel occupied in June 67 and supported a diplomatic solution every presence in Bissell since been Bill Clinton has worked for a two-state solution under which Israel would enjoy security and genuine acceptance in the Middle East and the Palestinians would run their own affairs however Donald Trump has put these central tenants of policy and doubt I think you could argue Trump's policy is potentially revolutionary in its coldness towards the vision of a Palestinian state and is indifference of the problem of settlements he's aligned him so he seems to have aligned himself with Israel's right wing with his victory giving that camp the hope that the dreams of absorbing the Palestinian territories injuries or could just be fulfilled without being encumbered by US policy so no pressure for compromise of peace notif see Trump chose his personal bankruptcy lawyer man he must have had a lot of work from him David Friedman for the post of US ambassador to Israel as we know Friedman has close ties to the Israeli settler movement now is that Kushner or is that is that Krishna is that trunk I'd say that was Trump actually and I would say that's come out of his campaigning because he wobbled on Israel during the campaign and it's come out of a kind world vision however that is balanced with James mattis again warning that giving up a two-state solution would mean if the rail ceases to be a Jewish state or you or Arabs don't get the vote that's apartheid that's a direct quote and then Trump started to speak along with Kushner as the Palestine Israel Palestinian agreement as the ultimate deal he visited Israel and met with Palestinian leaders on his first foreign trip in May 2017 encouraging Israel to be responsive to the Arab states and then join this alliance so where are we where are we on trump's israel policy it's all palestine policy I think Trump's worldview aligns himself to Netanyahu aligns himself to that kind of again bright-colored moralistic rather simplistic argument I think there's there's little doubt about that but as with every other campaign person campaigning for president and then winning he hasn't moved on the the oft-repeated promise of moving the embassy Jerusalem because I think he's taken advice that this would be as complex and as troublesome for his allies in Israel as it would be for the Palestinians that alone US policy so complexity creeps in but I think what all this lens metered suggests is that Israel Palestine peace won't be a major goal it won't be it won't get the investment of the president it won't get the investment of what's left of the State Department and the new Secretary of State after Tillotson it will just drift which is probably exactly what Netanyahu wants because there's no scrutiny there's no pressure to settle there's no pressure to deal with the settlements which are clearly the major break on peace on Saudi Israel and Iran well as you know in the election campaign he dammed the Iranian deal repeatedly and the Iranian deal was you know the worst ever I would never have done that and as Obama's signature success in the Middle East it became a kind of talisman of his anti-obama ism my own sense of his relations with the Gulf states before taking power beyond the Emirati ambassadors weekly lunches with krishna was fairly minimal so i think the idea that he bought it hook line and sinker beyond his own inclinations I think is probably not sustainable I think it's at as a central talisman again with his attack on Obama and then if you look at his he's two of his three chief advisors they're on record for long being skeptical about the Iran deal and what will be announced tomorrow he says with great confidence we'll be placing centrally at containment policy towards around militia allies especially Hezbollah but the Iranian backed and it will be an attempt to roll back around in influence and I think that hasn't although that will marry neatly with Israeli and Saudi and wider Gulf Arab interests that's been developed in the National Security Council and in the Pentagon it's not been developed and reared Tel Aviv any response to dunkers questions about that's a great question so I forgot that um second page of notes so from that point of view I think if I'm if I'm right and this is this is about a structural transformation of the international system with America's preeminence coming increasingly under question first economically and then somewhere long down the line strategically then you have an Obama like response which is in itself a all the tempter to draw off the u.s. strategy you know there's a very definition of a strategy so right what are what are our resources in a rationalist way and what are our central prioritized aims now Obama tried to do that and of course the Arab Spring in the Middle East got in the way the that the infamous pivot to China never quite happened because the Middle East had a way of coming back and dragging American policy back in Trump's attempt at transactional politics is another way of prioritizing America first money deals investment in American failing industry over long-term strategic commitments to an international stability that's already failing I think can someone clear up the mess what would that look like that would I think look like an attempt to decouple America's strategic interests from America's sense of itself its own its own ideational self branding it's our idealism or whatever now ironically that's exactly the maneuver that Bannon was trying to make if you if you can get and there's no reason why you should if you can get beyond the over overt racism and see what Bannon was trying to do what Baylin was trying to do beyond that is to try and reduce America's engagement with the world in group reduce America's investment in a global order and he got kicked out because of that after fighting a failed struggle against McMaster and matters who clearly want bad investment so both Obama and Bannon have identified a problem and come up with different solutions both of which haven't worked a recalibrate a rewrite sizing of America's position in the world to match its echo its declining economic dominance it's clearly what both were trying to struggle towards is that possible to the repeated kind of crises American of Germany and American power you know address it well certainly under Clinton it did and under Reagan it did but but but those those short term palliative Ziff the technological jump don't seem to be Silicon Valley so it seems to be round the next call I don't see what who's going to who's going to provide the non-transactional form of politics – you construct I wonder if anyone will very well after after the Second World War but partly because it saw its own position is challenged but by arrival during the Cold War things become much more interesting much more difficult when that kind of bipolar world okay thanks Toby so we've got that question I think chap over there the University of Exeter I was wondering whether you could expand redo it more on the impact of trauma foreign policy on the sectarian strife in the region not only for what concerns Iraq and Syria but also behind yeah I think that sectarianism comes from policy I am thank you for your presentation it was quite insightful I'm Hassan frogs on independent postdoc a scholar our just I had a question of what the term militarization that you have used because it's a process that has been ongoing for some time I mean the first time that I heard the term was during the Bush administration and its resort to Mele unilateralism I just want to know that different sort of militarization that is taking place on their current administration and you know how it's a different budget ministration beyond you know expansion for example military budget and giving powers to Pentagon's or arming you know Gulf states and the other question that the people in cream I get so you got in the sort of pink stripe t-shirt with a your hand up there in Kish pink gray hi I'm Marc Bolan they work for Bloomberg so talking about transactional diplomacy do you think is it your opinion that the Saudis got what they what they wanted from the big Asian trip early this year and also I can remember there was some Saudi person visiting Moscow more recently if I'm not mistaken sectarian it yes would be the deep down so what we have to be a bit more detail than that even out of this chair and so from that point of view what's Trump doing in the region what's that big takeaway from Riyadh is he's empowering the alliance with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia at its centre to counter and fights around that basically and then tomorrow we'll see where the Americans policy fits into that and goes beyond it I would have thought now how they how have they done that how how's this conflict played out and certainly since the regime change in Iraq in 2003 it's played out in a heightened instrumental use of sectarian rhetoric as a tool of foreign policy so it's it's been there since 79 but you've seen it much more powerful used you undermine your rivals or you attempt to undermine your rivals through exacerbating splits within societies at the same time as those splits are being exacerbated by a weakness of those states themselves with low oil prices or to be frank cataclysmically stupid policies that undermine national citizenship and exacerbate feelings of alienation within within the national community Trump comes along and in recognizing giving his blessing too and by doing so accelerating the regional Cold War he cannot but accelerate those policies and see so he ignores the faulty domestic policies in in Saudi and Bahrain and then gives the blessing for the for the export of sectarian ideology that that undoubtedly is going to increase the the scope with which sectarian rhetoric is going to be used now quite interestingly in Iraq and Syria how does American policy avoid demonizing militias that are aligned with Iran in sectarian terms let's watch the speech closely tomorrow if it happens and how he delineates from a group so maybe there's 52 separate militias in the hashish Lobby in Iraq how I deal in Yeats between those that are good in the American policy either aligned to the house or the Iraqi government and those too bad because they're aligned with Iran good luck with that I think it's gonna be difficult in the short speech or a policy document if not impossible in real life so that's that's the second tier of that problem how he implicitly he's given his blessing to original Cold War that's largely sectarian in rhetoric explicitly is he going to avoid overtly demonizing the militias alliance or Iran in sectarian terms I think it's gonna be tricky to do that what does militarization mean well you've got Bush Obama Trump the term was used under Bush certainly and that the kind of crusading narrow conservatism personified by the use of military force in Iraq but that I think the crucial thing that military forces will they're largely by civilians and infamously in the Department of Defense by civilians have not seen shots fired and anger with the exception of the secretary defense under Bush we come to Obama and they're the example I know best is to struggle over afghan it's a Petraeus won the first round and then the military was removed from Afghan policy making in the second round so the military was put back in their box the military is out of their box and centrally driving policy a serving military offer with a officers of HR McMaster a retired officer with Kelly and mattis I think I said what Trump has done for the reasons I tried to outline is give this space for the military not only to make military policy but to make that inter wheeled military power the loosening of control over the Pentagon employment expansion enlargement of troop forces abroad what I think is is unprecedented so I think what you're seeing is the military taking a central role is that a complete transformation of American and the u.s. foreign policy no I think as we got back to the question before a new president with a better grip on the policy-making process with whether more attention to detail will not need to delegate one will refuse to about the deployment of actual forces on the ground well what the first thing we did in in Iraq and Afghanistan was to loosen the ability of the commander on the ground to ask for more troops without going back to the White House there's that this is Special Forces rather than expeditionary warfare right that's is that is that not again give me a definition of Special Forces when the numbers in Afghanistan or Iraq is so large I think that definitions but okay well it's down congressional congressional authorization right appropriations I mean that by the by the very nature of giving increased autonomy to combat commanders on the ground to increase troop numbers you're circumventing Congress you're undermine all concern until they come forward until they reassert and I think what's absolutely fascinating about be certifying Iran if you're actually now giving foreign policy agency decision-making capacity to Congress do you congressional leaders want to vote for greater sanctions it's completely up to you if we're right on what happens whew next day over the next four days but then of course as he gives his Lama and he's sending his national security advisor secretary defense intercom with oh no please don't do that's not part of our strategy it's absolutely bizarre it's a bizarre way to make policy and if you were to create the base well does the base worry about Iran policy in the Gulf I really don't think it does and I think that's where Bannon was fighting saying the base doesn't give a damn about the Middle East as long as the Middle East stays in the middle east the base gives a damn if the Middle East comes to America so that's that's nothing the issue there's no there's another question wasn't there I think in terms of Saudi China yeah and and Saudi and the Saudis and the Saudi desire and stated desire to buy weapon weapons I think air defenses in the Gulf states the Arab Gulf states are consumers of external security and certainly under the Obama administration what they did was go out and buy a lot of kit they didn't need from Britain and from France in order it's a secure secondary provide us of security in fact you could argue the Conservative government's Gulf policy is simply that to sell as much military kit to the Gulf states in the lacuna of unpopularity that Obama calls for American role and ago now that's over Trump said anything you want so we'll see what the conservative Gulf policy tax to next but in that sense the transactional basis you buy stuff from us and we'll give you security oh but I can buy stuff from them as well in spite that I'm vociferous Lee on the other side of their fight in Syria so I'll buy weapons system because I'll spread my bets but the u.s. is actively encouraging me to do that because what it's selling beyond its weapons is a transactional politics so again it gets back to if you disinvest from post 45 long-term investment in multilateral secure guarantees then what you're doing is creating the space for others to invest in in bilateral security guarantees and that's clearly what's happening in the so decrypter to both Asia but more importantly to Russian thank you got a couple more questions people had their hands raised up there's a person in the gray sweater and a person who nut-brown shirt so we could take those two there's a good final question down here as well I think from Kaye people having dinner with him after this so okay person with the check show give me the third one okay that's it so yeah hi I'm Gabriel I'm student in the international political economy master's coming back to the US and Israel policy in this grand coalition of Israel and Saudi Arabia against Iran do you think we're like Israel in Saudi Arabia deals have essentially happened behind closed doors but do you think we will move forward or formal and official recognition of Israel as a Jewish state by Gulf countries in exchange of moving forward the peace process with the Palestinians and how does Trump can intervene in all that right okay go ahead just go we're running out of time so just carry on right fan of Trump here thank you okay and the last up there that don't check shop akiva North Philly Asian just alluding to the Israeli Saudi connection do we know the extent of discussions to date between Israel and Saudi Arabia okay okay right you've got five minutes Toby okay so let's still because I didn't answer the I've got about six months because I didn't answer that fully the question I threw out gulf relations before I mean the deal is on the table and has been since King Abdullah the Abdullah plan was that if there's a viable if Israel pulls out and and leaves a viable state in what were they what would have been the occupied territories 67 then they will recognize Israel as a as a as a state that's been on the on the books for a long time so that's there the simple answer will Saudi in the UAE recognize Israel no they won't the D the relationship that the UAE has got with Israelis is very close and security cooperation there are um acknowledged flights that go between I think Dubai Abu Dhabi and and Israel most weeks but it's never recognized because of public opinion and if you think public opinion in the United Arab Emirates think of public opinion in Saudi Arabia which would be we assume and I think it's a strong assumption outraged by any type of recognition so what we were more likely to move towards is not over at recognition but covert interaction which brings us to your question interactions in UAE in Israel has been well documented over the last decade maybe seven years at least interaction with Saudi and Israel is track – which means it's generally retired military people people close to the regime in rare and it's to some extent it's been the last maybe four years five years I'd like to say and has to some extent plausible that ability not greatest them and it's it's about negotiation so what it's about confidence-building trying to work out flaws ibly what would be the basis to some form of informal and of course interactions between doha and Tel Aviv are the most advanced of all for a long period of time Israel had a trade office there for a long time so from that and it still has a virtual trade office whatever that is so from that point of view sad is the last to come on board but it's tentative because of public opinion and I don't think you'll there won't be any major breakthrough what Trump was attempting to do I think was recognize that and trying to push it forward in this kind of alliance of all American allies against Iran I don't think that will work I think it'll be changed more than anything else on the transactional question versus is transactional politics I would argue that transaction politics by its very nature has to be short-term and that the HR McMaster operator Noah in the Wall Street Journal recognized that I suspect I might be reading too much into it and by its short termism and it's its contract short-term contractual basis it's going to be until the next so you go by weapons systems from Moscow if you're Saudi Arabia because you're not sure about the long-term stability of you buying weapons just from one source so that's good for people much sense of death but probably not very good for kind of certainty moving forward or strategic planning I would have thought now the counter-argument so that would be Britain's withdraw from sewers in 67 so you had no regional hegemon and but you had the longest period of peace till 79 I think if my history isn't failing me in the Gulf so without Hagerman you had some peace but the argument the counter-argument there is because of the the expanding oil revenues all those states were internally trying to state building and of course there the incompetence of one of that those leaders Chevron and his massive arms purchases and inflation whatever led to the run a revolution the end of that period and indeed the increasing intervention of the HEC among the United States in the region of the year under Obama quite amusing that seen the State Department of Defense Department people would fly into the Gulf where they'd be richly attacked for the u.s. leaving and depending on what office they were in the Gulf as they were being attacked they'd point to the Fifth Fleet and said but it hasn't left so what was going on there what was going on there was the security consumers fear quite justifiable that Obama clear did want to downscale and then then reacting against that so recalibration we're talking about earlier so I think transactional politics by the very nature are more unstable but I wouldn't want to over stress the United States as the deliverer par excellence of stability because the Gulf even under increasing American hegemony from 79 almost to be a hell of an unstable place now if you wanted to give the counter argue yes that's right and George W Bush tried to try to nip the bar of that instability by invading Iraq and so the US isn't necessarily a provider of stability even in long term investment of kind of predictable structures but the alternative is almost certain to guarantee you instability okay okay I think that's it so if we can just thank Toby and and thank you your producer [Applause]

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