In an exclusive interview with the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Daniel Benaim, Abdulaziz al-Angeli, founder and chief executive officer of reconnaissance research, has several bilateral interests for Kuwait and the United States. I investigated the problem.Excerpts from the interview are included below
How important are human rights and freedom of expression to the US government in our region?
President Biden and Secretary Blinken have pledged to enhance the role of human rights in foreign policy, especially with partners of great interest, such as Kuwait. We aim to clearly support and strengthen the role of democratic institutions and to demonstrate the importance of active civic political participation. We help citizens contribute to their own citizens’ lives in order to achieve prosperity and security. We have seen areas of remarkable progress in the region and areas where important work is still ahead.
How can the United States apply these principles?
From traditional security cooperation to COVID-19, climate change to higher education, I would like to emphasize that we are discussing human rights with our partners in the context of an incredibly close, deep and broad partnership. Our partnership in the Gulf is of permanent importance to the United States, including Kuwait, when Secretary of State Blinken first visited the region in July 2021.
While traveling the region as a US official myself, I had the opportunity to meet many civil society citizens and influencers, as well as those who traveled to the United States as part of an exchange program. Every society in the region has highly talented people working to solve the problems identified in the community.We are proud to support both government and civilian efforts to find the best solution.
In Kuwait, in addition to all societies in the region, there are individuals who are very talented in assessing and diagnosing problems and proposing appropriate solutions, and they are enthusiastic about solving social problems. We are proud to support these people and open up more channels of communication with them. Participation in the improvement of their country is an important role that should not be left to the government alone, and people are indispensable partners in determining their shape and mechanism in the future.
Supporting freedom of expression around the world is an important priority for the United States. We strive directly to release imprisoned or exiled political opponents and continue to insist that fundamental freedom should not be a crime in the first place. It is one of the basic freedoms that helps people play a role in achieving prosperity and security in their own citizens’ lives, and everything that affects the basic freedoms of our citizens is ours. It will be a priority. Our efforts include helping women, girls, and those who defend the rights of all, and have called for the lifting and lifting of restrictions on women’s rights activists.
What are the obstacles the United States faces in the region that impedes its vision for further reforms?
The United States, as we always have, shares a common purpose with a wide range of partners with different political systems. Our commitment to democratic norms and human rights begins in the home, the source of national pride and strength, and continues to be an important part of our involvement in the world.
The United States expresses our values and strives to build closer and stronger relationships with our partners and, where possible, align bilateral relations with our values and interests. The task can be gradual and difficult. As governments and citizens in the region strive to advance societies and institutions, we hope that our involvement creates opportunities for progress, cooperation and positive change.
Is there changing dynamics in US foreign policy?
Local dynamics are constantly changing, but it’s just as important to see what hasn’t changed. The United States continues to be a close strategic partner of Kuwait and the Gulf Cooperation Council. We have enjoyed strong strategic, diplomatic, economic, and person-to-person connections for decades. And I look forward to continuing to strengthen them.
As threats and circumstances change in the region, we have always worked as partners. A good example of recent years is the close coordination of the Gulf countries with respect to Afghanistan and essential support in facilitating the passage of US citizens, Kabul embassy staff, Afghanistan, and other refugees from Afghanistan. The Gulf countries have been at the forefront of our efforts to safely evacuate people from Afghanistan. We are working together not only on counterterrorism, defense and oil, but also on clean energy, climate change and COVID-19.
The United States has lasting strategic interests that it will continue to engage in the region for decades to come, including ensuring freedom of navigation and the influx of energy into the world economy. Counterterrorism; Prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. Help your partner protect yourself. It encourages positive change across the region to help society prepare for future enormous challenges, often those that do not even respect national and regional boundaries.
The United States and GCC countries have an unprecedented opportunity to work together to heal old cracks in the region and create new agreements. In addition to the normalized relations between Israel and some Arab countries under the Abraham agreement, concrete progress such as the end of the Gulf rift earlier this year and the improvement of relations between the GCC and Turkey. I’ve already seen an example.
We respect the sovereignty of each country and expect each country to make decisions in its own interests. The United States sees the Israeli Agreement as an important step forward and wants to build on further shared success. The United States will continue to look for other opportunities to expand cooperation between countries in the region and Israel and close this file. This file must be closed.
Will attention shift from the Gulf to the Indo-Pacific and China?
As the Secretary has repeatedly stated on China’s efforts to expand cooperation in the region, relations with China are competitive when it should be and cooperative where possible. Yes, it should be hostile.
We recognize that our allies and partners have complex relationships with China. Our focus is on bridging gaps in areas such as technology and infrastructure that China is using to exert coercive pressure. We rely on innovation and competition in these areas.
I work closely with Kuwait on many of the issues I have highlighted. The United States, Kuwait, and other Gulf countries continue to work closely with Iran on their return to the JCPOA. Most recently, senior U.S. officials and members of the GCC convened a working group on Iran at GCC headquarters on 17 November and issued a joint statement on their common view on this issue.
Similarly, the United States and Kuwait are partners in efforts to combat the climate crisis. For example, we both participated in the Global Methane Pledge. We will continue to deepen our partnership on the issues we have been working on together for many years. And we want to work together wherever we can bring better security, prosperity, and happiness to people in Kuwait, the United States, and around the world, so we extend our partnership to new areas of effort.
Daniel Benaim is Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Peninsula Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, US Department of State. He is a former Middle East policy adviser to President Biden and has worked for the White House, the State Department, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He is a lifelong member and a former International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations.
https://www.timeskuwait.com/news/us-supports-strengthening-democratic-institutions-in-kuwait/ U.S. helps strengthen Kuwait’s democratic system