Breaking the Syrian-Iranian Axis: Rapprochement with Syria and the Future of the Middle East
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In 1972 Richard Nixon went to China, opening it to international trade and diplomatic exchange, as well as allying the United States with a key communist nation at the height of the Cold War, further isolating the Soviet Union. Likewise, the next American President should pursue a policy of rapprochement with the Syrian Arab Republic. Recent indirect negotiations between Syria and Israel via Turkish mediators that have proceeded despite the objections of both counties? most important allies, Iran and the United States respectively, have shown that Syria recognizes the necessity of ending its isolation in the West. In the next 10-20 years Syria will face a severe economic crisis, threatening social stability and the security of the regime. Thus, with the right economic and political incentives, the United States and its European allies can pursue better relations with Syria and motivate them to conclude a peace treaty with Israel. Improved relations with Syria will give the West more influence in demanding political reform, economic liberalization, and a respect for human rights and liberties in Syria. Moreover, cooperating with Syria, integrating Syria into the global economy, and increasing its stature in regional power politics will aid the US as it confronts numerous challenges in the coming years: stabilizing Iraq, a settlement to the Palestinian question, the Arab-Israeli peace process, disarming militant groups such as Hamas and Hizbollah, and the West?s confrontation with Iran over its destabilizing policies in the region and its nuclear program.