President Joe Biden revealed on Saturday that the United States will “not walk away” from the Middle East.
Speaking at a summit for the Gulf Cooperation Council — a union among Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates — Biden told Middle Eastern leaders that despite the absence of American soldiers participating in warfare, the United States will remain involved in the region’s affairs.
“Let me state clearly that the United States is going to remain an active, engaged partner in the Middle East,” Biden remarked. “As the world grows more competitive and the challenges we face more complex, it is only becoming clearer to me … how closely interwoven America’s interests are with the successes of the Middle East. We will not walk away and leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia, or Iran.”
The United States spent $800 billion on fighting a war in Iraq between 2003 and 2011 to end the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, according to the Council on Foreign Relations, with over 4,500 Americans and 100,000 Iraqis losing their lives. Last year, the United States ended its invasion of Afghanistan, which lasted from 2001 to 2021 and cost $2.3 trillion.
“I am proud to be able to say that the era of land wars in the region — wars involving huge numbers of American forces — is not underway,” Biden said. “But we maintain both the capacity and the absolute determination to suppress the terrorist threat wherever we find it. We’ve demonstrated that this year — eliminating the Emir of ISIS on a daring operation, and just this week, taking out another key leader of ISIS.”
Biden also touted the need to “ensure adequate supplies” of energy “to meet global needs.” Though he did not mention oil, many have speculated that output of the key commodity was a primary factor in Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia. “Energy producers have already increased production,” Biden added.
Gas prices reached $5.00 per gallon in early June before falling to a national average price of $4.55 per gallon as of Saturday, according to AAA.
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