Praising a 'Nimble' American Foreign Policy in the Middle East
30th Anniversary Issue of the Middle East Policy Journal
WASHINGTON, May 23, 2012 - The featured article from the Summer 2012 edition of the journal Middle East Policy is now available to the press online. Authored by F. Gregory Gause, III (University of Vermont) and Ian S. Lustick (University of Pennsylvania), the essay applauds the agility of the Obama administration in dealing with a transforming Middle East but questions the flexibility of regional powers like Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia to adapt to a rapidly changing political landscape.
"Uncharacteristically for any great power operating in the Middle East, the United States seems to be performing considerably better than most of the regional powers, who have seemed particularly awkward in their responses to regime transformations and continuing turbulence. Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran are all viewing regional events through old prisms," write Drs. Gause and Lustick.
However imperfect, Obama administration policy - most notably in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Egypt - has embraced two fundamental assessments. The first is that the region is important, but few developments are potential threats to U.S. vital interests. The second is that multilateral responses to middle-range problems, even if imperfect, are much preferred over the direct and public commitment of U.S. military resources. Regional powers, on the other hand, appear mostly locked in outdated modes of analysis:
- Israel views its predicament through antiquated Zionist ideological principles ill-suited to negotiating contemporary political realities, especially ones rooted in more representative Arab political systems.
- Iran continues to stick with its blood-soaked Syrian ally and rolls back freedoms at home while resorting to increasingly tired anti-American and anti-Zionist tropes to rally support domestically and regionally.
- Saudi Arabia sees the region through the bifocal lens of monarchical solidarity and an increasingly sectarian conflict with Iran for regional influence.
- Only Turkey shows tangible signs of adjustment in the wake of the Arab Spring, successfully pivoting to support democratic change in the region.
For the full, exclusive press preview of this article, please follow the link below. This essay will be released to the general public on Tuesday, May 29, 2012:
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