In recent years there has been a little-noticed but important shift in the geopolitical landscape of the Gulf. China’s presence has evolved from being primarily focused on trade to incorporating strategic considerations. While this has been ongoing, there is a perception in the region that the US commitment to the Gulf has softened. There is no scenario where China replaces the US as the primary security provider for the GCC states, but actors in the Gulf monarchies are returning Beijing’s gaze, and developing increasingly multifaceted relationships.
Holbein’s tiny portrait projects us into a private moment in the life of an ordinary middle-class woman living in the reign of Henry VIII.