For decades Malaysia’s Islamic identity has strongly factored into the latter’s ties with GCC members. Kuala Lumpur has long engaged the Arab Persian Gulf monarchies closely on issues of major ideological and geopolitical importance to the wider Arab/Islamic world from the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan to the unresolved question of Palestine. This article discusses the challenges Malaysia faces in preserving and further nurturing its long-standing relations with the GCC countries.
Bombastic statements and indeed occasional, limited military action to support them have prevented war in Lebanon for a decade, even as the region has imploded. How long such “rules of the game” will deter the next war is anyone’s guess.
Washington will need to be prepared for a long and deep involvement in Afghanistan. Until the Trump administration demonstrates such a willingness, it would be well advised not to thoroughly discredit the search for a broadly acceptable political solution.