The Three Big Ideas Behind the Abraham Accords

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from The Wall Street Journal,

They can lead to peace in the Middle East, but only if the U.S. stops moralizing and takes Iranian threats seriously.

You can always trust the Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else,” Winston Churchill is said to have quipped. This week marks the third anniversary of one such “right thing”: the Abraham Accords. Announced on Aug. 13, 2020, and ratified the following month, the agreements heralded a new beginning of peace in the Middle East as several Arab nations (the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan—with the quiet support of other Arab nations, and warmth from Egypt, Jordan & Turkey) agreed to normalize relations with Israel. The previous five American presidents tried “everything else” with Palestinian leaders and failed. The Abraham Accords broke that streak.

The agreements are premised on three big ideas.

The first is that a collective security arrangement among Arab countries, Israel and the U.S. should be implemented to protect ordinary citizens from Islamist extremism.

The second idea underlying the accords is that a wave of prosperity would follow from regional economic cooperation.

The third idea is a recognition that the Middle East is home to new power centers. For much of the last century, Cairo, Baghdad and Damascus were loci of nationalist-socialist revolutions. As each city pursued Soviet-style economic policies, it collapsed and left a void for religious extremism to fill.

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