‘Weakened US engagement in region has left a vacuum’
Dr Anwar Gargash was also critical of the outgoing US administration in his speech, saying there had been “eight years of weakened American engagement in the region”, which had “created a disconcerting vacuum”. He said: “It is essential that there is an overarching strategy rather than isolated positions towards regional issues. “In short, America’s engagement is positive and its withdrawal and disengagement is counterproductive.” He said other world powers, such as Russia, China, India and the EU, also have a key role to play – as do countries in the region. “As we have seen in the past decade, looking inward and neglecting the regions challenges is a recipe for unremitting chaos and violence,” he said. “From Iraq, to Syria, to Libya, we have seen crises spiral out of control. Surely the lesson that we learn from these recent experiences is that there is no alternative to tackling these crises head on, to avoid their spill-over effects in terms of extremism, instability and the undermining of states and civil societies.” The two-day Third Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate finishes today.