Although the broad contours of the Trump Administration’s foreign policy are only just starting to crystallize, the new Administration will invariably have a substantial and significant impact on the Middle East. The incoming president was already facing complex issues such as the war against the so-called “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria, state collapse in Libya, and shifting regional power centers. But judging from President Trump’s statements on the campaign trail and since assuming office, his attention is also likely to fall on Iran and its nuclear deal, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and other areas. Moreover, his promises to improve relations with Russia, question the defense contributions of allies, and challenge aspects of China’s economic and political rise, will all have a further, if indirect impact, on the Middle East. This presentation looks at these various issues, asking where the US approach to the Middle East might be headed, and suggesting some possible regional impacts from the policy choices that the Trump Administration may make in the coming years.
Associate professor at the School of International Liberal Studies (SILS), Waseda University
Matthew Gray is associate professor at the School of International Liberal Studies (SILS), Waseda University, Tokyo. Prior to this, from 2005 to 2016 he was at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia. He has held visiting positions at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia at the University of Tokyo, Japan, and at Durham University in the UK. His research and teaching is focused on the Arab countries of the Middle East, especially their politics, political economy, and international relations. He is the author of ‘Conspiracy Theories in the Middle East: Sources and Politics’ (Routledge, 2010), ‘Qatar: Politics and the Challenges of Development’ (Lynne Rienner, 2013), ‘Global Security Watch – Saudi Arabia’ (Praeger, 2014), and a range of articles and papers.