White House Shifts Focus From Middle East to China

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said US must be ready to ‘impose costs’ on Beijing

On Friday, Politico reported that new National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan restructured the National Security Council to prioritize countering China in the Indo-Pacific. To do this, Sullivan downsized the team devoted to the Middle East and added more positions that deal with Asia.

In what became known as the “Asia pivot,” the Obama administration attempted to prioritize Asia but decided to intervene more in the Middle East and got bogged down there. Under Obama, the NSC’s Middle East directorate was much bigger than the Asia department.

Current and former US officials that Politico cited in the report said the new administration “wants to avoid another quagmire in the Middle East” so they can keep the focus on Asia.

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