Authors: Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations, Stephen D. Biddle, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Defense Policy, Ray Takeyh, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Gary Samore, Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg Chair, Steven A. Cook, Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow and Director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative; Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program, Steven Simon, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Martin S. Indyk, Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution, Michael O’Hanlon, Kenneth M. Pollack, Director of Research, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Suzanne Maloney, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution, Bruce O. Riedel, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution, Shibley Telhami, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution, Tamara Cofman Wittes, Senior Fellow, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution, and Daniel L. Byman, Professor at Georgetown University and Research Director of the Saban Center at Brookings Institution
The next U.S. president will need to pursue a new strategic framework for advancing American interests in the Middle East. The mounting challenges include sectarian conflict in Iraq, Iran's pursuit of nuclear capabilities, failing Palestinian and Lebanese governments, a dormant peace process, and the ongoing war against terror. Compounding these challenges is a growing hostility toward U.S. involvement in the Middle East. The old policy paradigms, whether President George W. Bush's model of regime change and democratization or President Bill Clinton's model of peacemaking and containment, will no longer suit the likely circumstances confronting the next administration in the Middle East.
In Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President, experts from the Council on Foreign Relations and the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution propose a new, nonpartisan strategy drawing on the lessons of past failures to address both the short-term and long-term challenges to U.S. interests. Following an overview chapter by Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center, individual chapters address the Arab-Israeli conflict, counterterrorism, Iran, Iraq, political and economic development, and nuclear proliferation. Specific policy recommendations stem from in-depth research and extensive dialogue with individuals in government, media, academia, and the private sector throughout the region.
Restoring the Balance is the final product of an eighteen-month Council on Foreign Relations–Saban Center at Brookings project. This effort involved fifteen of the institutions' senior Middle East experts, who joined together for the first time to conduct in-depth research, travel to the region, and hold interviews with its leaders in order to develop a series of policy recommendations for President-elect Barack Obama. The teams met on three occasions with a board of advisers, a group of former government officials and leaders in the public and private sectors who critiqued drafts of the papers but were not asked to endorse the views presented.
"[Restoring the Balance] ... is no mere straw in the wind: It spells out in considerable detail what the Obama administration's strategy and priorities for Iran and the Israeli-Arab peace process are going to be." —Washington Times
"Among the plethora of proposals ... Barack Obama is being offered from unofficial sources in this transition period, chances are that ... Restoring the Balance will command a prominent place." —Jerusalem Post
"Thoughtful ... a very useful and readable introduction to the thinking behind the coming shift." —New York Times Book Review
Stephen Biddle is a senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Before joining CFR, he held the Elihu Root chair of military studies at the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute. He has held teaching and research positions at numerous universities.
Daniel Byman is a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. He is director of the Center for Peace and Security Studies and an associate professor in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.
Isobel Coleman is a senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and director of CFR's Women and Foreign Policy program. She is the coauthor of Strategic Foreign Assistance: Civil Society in International Security.
Steven A. Cook is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Before joining CFR, he was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Soref research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Richard N. Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations. Until June 2003 he was director of policy planning for the Department of State, where he was a principal adviser to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Previously, Haass was vice president and director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution and served in senior roles in the George H. W. Bush administration.
Martin Indyk is the director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. He served in several senior positions in the U.S. government, most recently as ambassador to Israel. Prior to that he served as assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs and as special assistant to President Clinton and senior director for Near East and South Asian affairs in the National Security Council.
Suzanne Maloney is a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. Prior to this, she served on the State Department's policy planning staff, was the Middle East adviser at ExxonMobil Corporation, and served as project director of the Task Force on U.S.-Iran Relations at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Michael E. O'Hanlon is a senior fellow of foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution. He is also director of research for the 21st Century Defense Initiative and senior author of the Brookings Iraq Index. Prior to this, he advised members of Congress on military spending.
Kenneth M. Pollack is director of research at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. He served as a Persian Gulf military analyst at the CIA, a senior research professor at National Defense University, and the director for Persian Gulf affairs at the National Security Council.
Bruce Riedel is a senior fellow for political transitions in the Middle East and South Asia at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. He retired in 2006 after thirty years' service at the Central Intelligence Agency and on the National Security Council at the White House.
Gary Samore is vice president, director of studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg chair at the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as vice president for global security and sustainability at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, director of studies and senior fellow for nonproliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and senior director for nonproliferation and export controls at the National Security Council.
Steven Simon is the Hasib J. Sabbagh senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Before joining CFR, he was senior Middle East analyst at the RAND Corporation, assistant director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, and a member of the National Security Council staff.
Ray Takeyh is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a contributing editor of the National Interest. Takeyh served as a professor of national security studies at the National War College and has been a professor and fellow in several universities and institutions.
Shibley Telhami is a nonresident senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. He is Anwar Sadat professor at the University of Maryland. He has served on a number of governmental commissions and as adviser to the United States Delegation to the United Nations.
Tamara Cofman Wittes is a senior fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings and directs the center's Project on Middle East Democracy and Development. Previously she served as Middle East specialist at the U.S. Institute of Peace and director of programs at the Middle East Institute.
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Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »
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