What to do in the Middle East, and Sweden’s NATO ascension: Roundup on the Four Pillars

Jan 29, 2024News

In the midst of all the conflicts and airstrikes in the Middle East, another flashpoint has arisen. American installations have been attacked in Iraq and other locations in the region, but none of them have been lethal – until now. Recently, there was a lethal drone attack on an American base in Jordan, leading to three casualties and over two dozen injured. Even though there were attacks in the previous months, they were simply struggled off, and now they can’t be ignored. This is a difficult needle for the Pillars to thread, as it is unwise to continue pouring more resources and investment into the region when there should be focus on the Asia-Pacific region, but not retaliating to such attacks would be weak posturing.

Something else that could cripple the strength of the Pillars is the decision by the Biden administration to halt LNG exports. At a time when American energy production is at its peak, this move would hamper European energy independence, especially vis-a-vis Russia and other authoritarian states. Even though environmental implications are understandable, this would only help destabilize and demotivate the democratic effort in the globe.

Finally, Turkey and Hungary have stopped their opposition to Sweden’s ascension into NATO, with the Turkish Parliament voted in favor of ascension, and Hungary caved in from pressure (most likely regarding fighter jets). This has the implications of turning the Baltic Sea into a NATO lake, and helps with a more cohesive defense position for Europe, one of the Pillars, and North America. It is the rare good news in a week of concerns and crises.

Shutterstock/Richard Whitcombe