The oil-rich but volatile Middle East has continued to remain a zone of frenemies and turbulences where geopolitical conflicts and rivalries, major power interventionism and violent extremist operations, not to mention the savagery of the Covid-19 pandemic, have featured prominently. Authoritarian rule, competing interests, state-society disparity and public agitation for fundamental reforms in pursuit of the common good at the national and regional level have persistently impeded any form of meaningful regional cooperation. Whereas the former US President Donald Trump’s neonationalist approach of divide-and-rule substantially exacerbated these variables, his Democratic successor Joe Biden has unfolded a number of liberalist policy initiatives to change the conditions for the better in the region. Yet, he has his work cut out.
This lecture will elaborate on these issues, with an emphasis on the prevailing situation in the Middle East, the challenges facing the region - and the Biden administration - and where-to from here.