Russia Cannot Replace America in the Middle East – David Gardner
The hardening conviction among America’s Arab and Israeli allies that the U.S. is no longer a reliable partner in the Middle East is prompting speculation about a Russian comeback there, 41 years after President Anwar Sadat kicked 20,000 Soviet military advisers out of Egypt.
The U.S. moment in the Middle East may be ending, but it is hard to believe Russia can replace it. Even in the Soviet era, Russia never managed to be much more than a spoiler. Now, with its economy built on little more than oil and in the second division of technology, it is a subprime power. And nobody prefers Russian to U.S. weapon systems. The U.S., moreover, is finding it cannot just disengage. John Kerry, its top diplomat, does not get to pivot to Asia much these days. (Financial Times-UK)