BRINGING THE UNITED STATES BACK INTO THE MIDDLE EAST

Author
Shadi Hamid, Peter Mandaville
Content Type
Journal Article
Journal
The Washington Quarterly
Volume
36
Issue Number
4
Publication Date
Fall 2013
Institution
Center for Strategic and International Studies
Abstract
It has been all too common to criticize the Obama administration for a lack of strategic vision in responding to the Arab uprisings. While such criticism may be valid, it is time to move beyond critique and articulate not just a bold vision, but one that policymakers can realistically implement within very real economic and political constraints. During the remainder of its second term, the Obama administration has an opportunity to rethink some of the flawed assumptions that guided its Middle East policy before the Arab Spring—and still guide it today. Chief among these is the idea that the United States can afford to continue turning a blind eye to the internal politics of Arab countries so long as local regimes look out for a narrow set of regional security interests. With so much policy bandwidth focused on putting out fires, the United States has neglected the important task of thinking about its longer term engagement in the region. Crisis management is the most immediate concern for policymakers, but it's not necessarily the most important.
Political Geography
United States, Middle East, Libya, Syria, Egypt