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2021-03-09 3 ENGLISH REPORTS
However, both competitors face limits in the region, and with Washington focused on great-power competition, there is a risk that seeing the region through this lens could preclude cooperation that might benefit American interests. Both China and Russia have shared interests with the United States in nonproliferation, for example, and support the Iran nuclear agreement. As a major source of global demand for energy, China has an interest in regional calm and stable energy prices, whereas the United States and Russia, as major energy producers, have an interest in stable prices that enable long-term investments in exploration and development. A region with less violent extremism, more prosperity, and stronger nonproliferation trends will benefit all three global powers.
To be sure, Russia and China are competing with the United States in the Middle East, and growing Russian and Chinese engagement has led to actions that work against U.S. interests, such as Russia’s military intervention in Syria or China’s expansion of communication technology with concerning security components, including systems that can be used for surveillance and population control. But competition can be tempered by partially overlapping objectives that provide opportunities for cooperation in areas that do not infringe on U.S. interests. Policy Tools RAND researchers explored the means by which the United States attempts to achieve its objectives; reviewed economic, diplomatic, and other instruments for American engagement; and made recommendations for recalibrating U.S. regional investments. They found that U.S. military assistance to the Middle East and North Africa region has far outpaced economic aid, with the Middle East receiving more than 50 percent of total U.S. military aid globally. U.S. force presence in the region (excluding Afghanistan) remains steady at just less than 50,000 deployed U.S. troops. Security cooperation and economic assistance programs also are not routinely or rigorously assessed for effectiveness in achieving intended outcomes and the avoidance of counterproductive effects.
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