The United States has announced plans to hold a summit in January to launch what’s being called an Arab NATO, officially the Middle East Strategic Alliance. On the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held preliminary talks with the other main countries involved – namely, the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council plus Egypt and Jordan – to discuss the summit. The idea has been batted around before, but for the first time, the U.S. president is planning to preside over a meeting intended to discuss its creation. The story didn’t receive much coverage last week, with other stories monopolizing the press, but in other times, it would have dominated the news.
In the past, the idea of an Arab NATO was motivated by a desire to unite Arab nations against jihadists. Political realities delayed its creation, but this time around, it’s being motivated by the expansion of Iranian influence, which poses an existential thr