Opinion: Exploiting the end of the American era

The first major global conflict of the 21st century broke out in the Middle East. It didn’t involve Iran. ISIS wasn’t a factor. Surprisingly, even Israel found itself on the sidelines.

The initial volley of shots in the battle for the post-US period came from Saudi Arabia. The power struggle was caused by Washington’s withdrawal from the world.
This week has seen two incidents which suggest the Kingdom’s conduct is less constrained by Western ways. First, Canada’s ambassador had a fairly common critique following the detention of a women’s rights activist. Instead of issuing their own statement, Riyadh simply cut off ties. Second, an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen that killed dozens of children. Instead of apologizing, the Saudis defended the airstrike, calling it a legitimate military operation. The message seems to be: we no longer feel the need to conform to external expectations.

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