Duqm Oman, U.S. Alternative to the Strait of Hormuz, by Terence Rosenthal

Imagine a conflict-free route for transport of oil and commercial goods from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Infrastructure of ports, rails, and pipelines is underway in the central port city of Duqm, Oman.  Duqm, once an obscure coastal village in the middle of coastal Oman, provides Western nations the opportunity to bypass conflict in both the Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Hormuz, the most contentious choke point in the world. .

The GCC, including Oman and Saudi Arabia, is wary of Iran. Both are at opposite ends of the Syrian conflict, and OPEC policy. Duqm, a new regional hub for fuel transport must be considered. As the U.S. develops its domestic fuel exports, most notably, natural gas, its national security and foreign policy will be affected. It will be necessary for regions like the GCC to enter a new chapter in terms of trade and defense initiative.

Fortunately, for the GCC, relatively reliable supporters of the U.S., there are alternatives. India and the ASEAN are growing at exponential rates. Demands for natural gas and oil are rising in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. Geopolitically, great opportunity is possible for the GCC, the U.S. and the rest of the world. Infrastructure at Duqm can help make bring positive outcome in this transition.

There is, however, one snag. To keep peace in its hostile region, Oman, a member of the GCC maintains a “friendship” of moderation with both Iran and Saudi Arabia. This, however, is not preventing Oman from developing pipelines and rails with the rest of the GCC while assisting as the U.S.’ mediator to Iran.

Viewing current geo-politics, it is hard to blame Oman for seeking balance in the region. Iran’s recent treatment of countries in the Persian Gulf has mirrored that of China in the South China Seas. Historically, Saudi Arabia and Oman have had conflict over regional hegemony.

Some entities have found loopholes for investment in Iranian oil. This is folly. Further violation with regard to nukes on the part of Iran could result in these companies being boycotted, incurring major loss. Investment in Iran presents poor future value, as does lessening relations with the GCC while “pivoting” to Asia.

Duqm should be wetting the appetite of the U.S. and Western powers. Imagine a Middle Eastern port that is friendly to U.S. and Western trade, with access to the Indian Ocean, far from conflict in the Persian Gulf. Oman presents a positive investment and geopolitical alternative to Iran.

Although Western involvement in Duqm poses potential limits, its benefits outweigh its setbacks. Oman is a comparatively moderate Islamic country that gets along well with its neighbors. It has a long coastline, providing convenient shipping to India, the ASEAN, and Africa.

It is important in the future that moderate Islamic countries like Oman have a prominent voice in foreign policy and trade. There are fundamentalist Islamic regimes who endorse global terrorism and tyranny. Islam as a result, suffers an insurmountable blow, causing moderate voices to stay silent. In the U.S., the Middle East and neighboring lands are viewed as impediments to global trade. Global transport of oil and other commercial goods, however, makes bypassing the Middle East impossible.

It is time that through trade and foreign policy, moderate Islamic nations in the Middle East who are friendly with the west are given a voice through the promotion of trade. Globally, there will always be bad actors. Terrorism will never be completely stopped. However, economic power exalts the proud voice of prosperity. Investment in Duqm, Oman is an important step in this process.

Global Interdependent Partnerships, a Republican Foreign Policy by Terence Rosenthal

Future U.S. prosperity among world economies depends on it acting as the global connector of economic partnerships. The U.S. must evolve its foreign policy from a purely military strategic focus to one that is centered on economic return. U.S. military capabilities, especially the Navy, must fortify the safety of new economic partnerships by assuring protection of ports and shipping lanes world-wide.

The U.S. can no longer buy questionable alliances with co-dependent, unreliable countries. Pakistan, with a record of harboring major terrorists, is an example. Many Democrats and Republicans agree that sequestration, and a hollowed-out military are bad for the U.S. However, it is productive and cost-effective to prioritize where military spending yields the highest return.

All branches of the U.S. Military are important, however, the most functional, cost-effective branch during peace and war-time is the Navy. The Navy is most vital because it assures ease of trade on the high-seas, port security on coastlines of countries it partners, and military readiness around the world.  Ninety percent of all goods are traded on the ocean.

In Africa, South America, the Middle East, and Asia, China offers generous loans and infrastructure up-front. Militarily and economically, China is maximizing its future to reap the benefits of its new alliances. The Chinese are actively minimizing the power of the Dollar, attempting to make the Yuan the premier global currency. Recent years have shown that weakness and disorganization with regard to global relations and foreign policy creates vulnerability. This is why China has been able to confiscate territory in the South China Seas with very little consequence.

In recent years, China has shown itself to be skilled at inserting influence in countries at every level of development. In Africa, they are allying with commodity based, developing economies. In Europe, and North America, China is buying land to build corporations and hotels so that they can have a stake in fully industrialized economies.

To hedge Chinese influence, the U.S. must diversify its portfolio with regard to who it coordinates in economic partnership. The most attractive countries with which the U.S. should partner are those with major ports bordering other economies by key rivers, or rail systems. This combination makes shipping, transport, and relations cost-effective and convenient. If river infrastructure or rail enhancement benefits ease of trade in these countries, the U.S. should assist in their development.

Much to the chagrin of isolationists, if the U.S. pulls its influence out of the Middle East, the entire region will follow Iran in the pursuit of nuclear weapons. Global terrorism will multiply. Why not create partnerships with countries agreeable to American foreign policy in the Middle East, and neighboring South Asia.

In spite of strife occurring in the Middle East, there are countries favorable to U.S. foreign policy that can be aligned. In addition, U.S. assisted partnership in this region would hedge power and influence of Iran and Russia. One possible example is Israel, Saudi Arabia, and India. The Saudis and the Israelis have already met on numerous occasions regarding the formation of a military alliance. They are both relatively strong trade partners with India.

The U.S. must become the prime connector of global interdependent partnerships. Many are frightened of China’s economy outgrowing the U.S. Militarily alliance between China and Russia is also of grave concern. The U.S. must reach out to countries with prominent port and rail infrastructure, or high future value in terms of commodities and labor. If the U.S. objective of foreign policy strategy makes the future value and efficiency its main priority, it can remain the most vital super in the world.

Israel, Saudi Arabia, India, Economic Alliance Based on Fuel and Water by Terence Rosenthal

As the world enters a phase of the U.S. not serving as the global police, they should consider the benefit of creating partnerships among countries with like-minded goals. Due to the Arab Spring, U.S. reduction in Middle Eastern affairs, and the militant rise of China in the Indian Ocean, major global players are finding new ways to adapt to current foreign policy.

The U.S. must create interdependent partnerships with allies and other countries who are diplomatically agreeable. One example of this is the evolving union of Israel, Saudi Arabia, and India. Why would this partnership be beneficial? Due to the abundance of resources and infrastructure unique to each country, each participant stands to gain from partnering.

Alone, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and India are each regional powers with significant positives and negatives in terms of resources. However, as an economic unit, they complement each other optimally. Consider Israel, an oasis in the desert in terms of irrigation and crop development. Israel is also the center to some of the world’s most advanced technology in fields ranging from water purification to defense.

Although Israel has an age-old dispute with Palestine, and has hostile and unpredictable neighbors to its north and west, it has been blessed with the Leviathan field, one of the largest deepwater natural gas finds in the world. Even the West Bank will benefit from Leviathan. It was recently promised a steady supply of natural gas from Israel for the next twenty years.

Saudi Arabia is one of the largest producers of oil in the world. Because the Saudis have managed to keep conflict at a minimum within their borders, their economy has gradually increased. Saudi Arabia has highly developed sectors with regard to petrol products, and chemicals, making them much more than a mere commodity based economy. There has even been discussion regarding reconstruction of the Trans-Arabian Pipeline. This pipeline could function as a significantly less expensive alternative to the Suez Canal. If it is constructed in conjunction with Israel’s new natural gas pipeline, Western Europe and Turkey will also benefit significantly.

India is perhaps the largest service oriented economy in the world. In South Asia, India is China’s biggest rival. India is the biggest hedge to Chinese military power in the Indian Ocean, and has been modernizing its defense program with the help of technology leaders, Israel and Japan. It is also poising itself as an alternative to China as a global center for manufacturing. The fact that Saudi Arabia is its biggest supplier of oil will help make this transition a reality.

Saudi Arabia, Israel, and India are challenged with the need for potable water, as well as irrigation for crop development. Since 2006, both India and Israel have been hard at work, implementing technologies that counter these challenges. They have steadily developed technologies in India with regard to irrigation, dairy and farming technologies. If these advances can help India with improvements in food and water supplies, they can do the same in Saudi Arabia.

There are significant political challenges to an Israel, Saudi, Indian partnership. Many in Saudi Arabia do not want to take official diplomatic steps until Israel and Palestine arrive at a two state solution. India’s age old rivalry with neighboring Pakistan, as well as the balancing act it must maintain with Tehran also present obstacles to fluid diplomacy. What the U.S. must do is help convince Israel, Saudi Arabia, and India that mutual economic benefits of partnership outweigh facing regional challenges alone.

Israel, Saudi Arabia, India and the Rise of Interdependent Global Partnerships by Terence Rosenthal

The U.S. must redesign its foreign policy philosophy to meet future challenges. It is currently impossible for any power to serve as the world’s police. However, in a global economy, isolationism is not an option. The U.S. should create interdependent partnerships with allies and other countries that are diplomatically agreeable. One example of this is the evolving union of Israel, Saudi Arabia, and India.

Israel, Saudi Arabia, and India, as well the neighboring GCC and Jordan have a lot to gain politically and economically by uniting. All three are fearful of an Islamic populist movement sweeping through the Middle East and South Asia. Meetings have been taking place between both Saudi Arabia and Israel that pertain to missile defense and military strategy with regard to Iran and Syria. Saudi Arabia has extended its diplomatic hand to India, apprehending key terrorists in the Indian Mujahideen.

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia have economic partnerships with India. The union of these three countries as well as Jordan, and the GCC would accomplish many objectives. All are open to doing business with the West, and will cooperate with the same set of geo-political rules. They are leery of other countries that back or support Iran. Most important, however, is that Israel, Saudi Arabia, and India complement each other in terms of resources and challenges. They are optimal candidates for economic interdependence.

All three countries face the challenge of maintaining a reasonable relationship, and managing conflict with neighbors who are political foes at the very least. They control key ports, managing the regional flow of goods and services. In addition, each contend with issues related to the same basic necessity, potable water, toward which all three have been generating new technology.

There are potential barriers that must be overcome. As the Saudis have aided Pakistan, so too have they supported Hamas, in their endorsement of Palestine. Saudi philosophy for regime change in Syria is different than that of Israel. Although both countries disdain Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia has shown support for elements of Al Qaida working to overthrow Assad. Early on, the Saudis invested in the Pakistani nuclear program, and have considered asking Pakistan for assistance in attaining a nuclear weapons program for itself. India has maintained a working economic and diplomatic relationship with Iran.

Current crises have a tendency of creating unions that would have not been thought of a generation ago. Three major developments have taken place in the past few years. The Arab Spring, the Syrian Civil War, and the Chinese militarization of the Indian Ocean. Each of these events have caused major Middle East and South Asian powers to reassess alliances and take note of the shift in presence of prominent super powers in their region.

The U.S. is planning to take much of its resources out of the Middle East. They must have a plan to fill the void created by scaling back, otherwise conflict will ensue, and anti-Westernism in the region will prevail. China is becoming a bigger military presence and potential threat in South Asia. Regional powers are realizing that in order to ensure a prosperous and peaceful future, they have to forge partnerships based on shared diplomatic and economic goals. For Israel, Saudi Arabia, and India, this is becoming a reality that will present dire consequences if not addressed by the U.S.