The unraveling of the Middle East under the weight of the Sunni-Shiite rivalry and the rise of the Islamic State is enough of a national security challenge to keep the United States busy for a decade or more. But with more and more American advisers on the ground in Iraq — and a steady stream of videotaped atrocities on the Internet — there is a risk that Washington will once again revert to a foreign policy focused disproportionately on that region.
Yes, the United States maintains key interests in the Middle East: Israel’s security, nuclear nonproliferation, stable energy supplies and counterterrorism. But we cannot lose sight of the most significant challenge to American power and leadership in a quarter-century: China and Russia acting like revisionist powers, trying to undermine key elements of the existing international order, including territorial boundaries and long-standing security partnerships. If this challenge is left unchecked, the world could again be divided into spheres of influence, with an ever-present risk of conflict among the major powers.
Read the full piece at The Washington Post.