Under the Obama administration, the United States has moved closer to European positions on the Arab-Israeli peace process and the promotion of democracy and human rights in the Middle East, at least at the level of rhetoric. There has been no significant increase, however, in transatlantic cooperation on these questions. The United States is still trying to keep the initiative on Arab-Israeli issues to itself, and has not engaged European partners so far in its evolving policy on democracy issues. The Obama administration is coming under increasing criticism in the United States and the Middle East for ineffective policies on both of these topics, which is likely to lead to some rethinking over the next six months and could open the way to closer cooperation or, alternatively, greater friction with Europe. Early indications suggest that President Obama might disengage from Arab-Israeli diplomacy for the present in favour of other priorities.
This report was written for FRIDE and presented at an event jointly hosted by FRIDE, CEPS and the Heinrich Boll Foundation.