Jordan-US relations and new beginnings

Jawad Anani
Jawad Anani (Photo: JNews)
There is nothing quite like the excitement of new and promising beginnings, so it’s only right that I congratulate the Jordan News team on their recent launch. As this is my first article on this platform; I would like to begin by wishing them a long and successful journey within the competitive landscape of print/digital media journalism. Such a momentous occasion demands a momentous subject: the all-important diplomatic relations between Jordan and the United States. اضافة اعلان

These relations have been quintessential to each of the countries’ foreign policies since the 1950’s. To make the claim that these relations have always been perfect would be a fallacy, and much like any meaningful dynamic, this particular one has had its share of trials.

A notable example of these tribulations occurred from 1990 to 1991, during George H.W. Bush’s term as president with regards to the rising tensions in the Arab Gulf, and Iraq specifically, during that time. The waters settled very quickly though, with the initiation of the Arab-Israeli peace negotiations in Madrid in October of that same year (1991).

A more recent, and deeper rift between the two nations occurred when the one-term former president Donald J. Trump announced the ill-advised and inaccurately named “Deal of the Century”; wherein, he used his executive power to officially relocate the US Embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. This decision severed diplomatic and financial relations with the Palestinian Authority, and stifled the financial assistance designated for the Palestinians via UNRWA. A decision which deeply impacted Jordan, and its internal security.

However, it is important to note that these strains between the two countries never severed relations. This is in part due to Jordan’s invaluable role in maintaining Israel’s security. This role has always managed to temper these strains, and return the relationship to a manageable one.

The impact of Joe Biden’s win as president of the United States could be felt in Jordan’s public and private squares, as a sense of relief permeated through the fog of uncertainty created by his predecessor. Although relieved by the result of the elections, Jordanian policy makers, pundits, and analysts were fully aware that the current state of affairs (internal health, social, and economic unrest) in America, would keep the issues of the Near East from reaching President Biden’s desk until June or July of this year.

President Biden’s foreign policy agenda has been primarily focused on the Iranian nuclear deal, and North Korea’s missile tests, pushing the Near East’s political issues even further down the chain of US foreign policy concerns. This is further evidenced by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s skirmishes with his counterparts in both China and Russia, due to their direct relations to North Korea and Iran.

Another highly intriguing development within the US- Iranian nuclear negotiations involves a quid pro quo: Iran is to halt its uranium enrichment program, and in return the US will lift its economic sanctions over Iran. This is all happening in tandem with many agreements being reached over Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, through mediating nations such as Qatar, Turkey, the UAE, and some EU nations such as France and Germany.

Jordan, however, has also had two major political happenings with the US since Biden’s inauguration. First: The two nations have signed a security pact, which caused a wave of subdued dismay among some Jordanians and Arabs alike. Second: The increase in the normalization of relations between the US and the Palestinian authorities.

The latter development implies that this US administration acknowledges the practicality and viability of a two-state solution, as the only meaningful way forward. This posture taken by the current American administration can ease the rise of right-wing extremism in Israeli politics, and restore some of America’s credibility as a serious and honest broker for peace in the region.