Over the last 30 years, there are two military incidents in particular that define the US approach to the Middle East. Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 marked the beginning of the US military existence in the Gulf and a more assertive policy towards the region. And last September, the US’s inaction to defend Saudi Arabia from the attack against the Abqaiq and Khurais oil facilities marks the nation’s retreat.
In 1990, President George H W Bush was keen to uphold America’s new role as the enforcer of international norms, as well as maintain the power balance, oil, and Israel’s security. Yet in the past three years, Trump has seemed ready to turn his back on these crucial security and strategic objectives.