Beyond the goal of halting the evasion of sanctions against Russia, the Western delegation's trip underscores above all the waning influence of the US in the Middle East. Although Washington remains an important ally for Abu Dhabi, the Emirates are increasingly pursuing a foreign policy independent of US interests, following Saudi Arabia's example. The UAE is testing Washington's red lines when it comes to limiting Chinese military relations and isolating Russia, and this development is also a consequence of US regional policy.
Abu Dhabi has no moral compass or qualms about doing business with the authoritarian Putin regime, and despite Western sanctions prompted by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, the Emirates has deepened economic and financial ties with Moscow. The UAE is playing a double game by condemning the invasion while its companies are expanding their often questionable operations with Russia. The US must be on guard, and secondary sanctions against the Emirates are still available to Washington as a last resort.
The Western officials' trip to the UAE also gained significance due to the invitation to the UAE to join the BRICS group. The transition to a multipolar world order means that middle powers now play an active role in shaping norms, resolving conflicts, and promoting international cooperation. Abu Dhabi's growing China and Russia ties may run counter to Western interests, but reflect this emerging era in geopolitics. It's only natural for the UAE to deepen its relations with new partners in search of economic diversification and growth opportunities.