TEHRAN – A South Alabama University professor says Russia’s presence in the Persian Gulf region should be viewed “in the context of balance-of-power theory”.
“We should assess Russia's presence not in the traditional Cold War framework but more so in the context of the balance-of-power theory,” Nader Entessar tells the Tehran Times.
Following is the text of the interview:
Q: Now that the United States is somehow moving away from focusing on the Middle East and turning to East and Southeast Asia, will Russia’s presence in the Persian Gulf region be in competition with the U.S., or will it help stabilize the region?
A: Russia's enhanced presence in the Persian Gulf is reflective of Moscow's desire to expand its economic ties with the regional countries. In addition, Russia's political footprint in the region has been steadily increasing in the past decade. This is also reflective of Russia's desire to reassert itself as a regional player. Moscow is well aware of the fact that it no longer is a global counter-force to the United States, but it nevertheless can play a balancing role in the Persian Gulf region. We should assess Russia's presence not in the traditional Cold War framework but more so in the context of the balance-of-power theory. If the balance of power is properly maintained, it will help regional stability in the long run.
Q: The United States’ presence in the Persian Gulf has been largely focused on oil. However, some believe that the U.S. will become an oil exporter after 2020. So if the Persian Gulf loses its momentum to Washington as an oil hotbed, how will regional countries’ dealings with the U.S. be defined?
A: Historically, oil and access to energy resources of the Persian Gulf have played the dominant role in shaping America's regional politics. However, as the United States increases its domestic oil production and as it will become the dominant oil producer in the world within the next decade, the old energy-based calculation will no longer remain the dominant driving force in shaping Washington's Persian Gulf policy. That said, we should not discount the continuing geostrategic importance of the region for the United States. The U.S. has a number of interests in the region that go beyond oil. In other words, the United States will not move out of the region as its reliance on the Persian Gulf Oil diminishes. Washington will re-calibrate its policies to maintain its status as the global hegemon.
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