Op-Ed

PrintPrint EmailEmail ShareShare CiteCite
Style:MLAAPAChicagoClose

loading...

Prioritizing the Middle East

Author: Sundaa A. Bridgett Jones
January 15, 2009
The Root

Share

Upon entering the Oval Office for the first time, the past 10 American presidents have found a towering inbox of priorities, near the top of which laid a thick, tattered file marked "Middle East." President Barack Obama will be no exception. On Jan. 20, he will inherit the immediate consequences of the past eight years of a failed policy  toward the region. A failed policy marked by rhetoric, hubris and neglect, as well as decades of mishandled diplomacy that has challenged the resourcefulness of many previous leaders.

Expectations for a new approach to the Middle East are exceedingly high. A reorientation of the U.S. strategy that places high priority on active and sustained diplomatic peacemaking with the president's personal involvement would be a significant step forward. But change will not come easily. Secretary of State-designate Hillary Clinton acknowledged the challenges during her Senate confirmation hearing, yet clearly articulated a different path with an emphasis on diplomacy as the way forward.

The challenges are many. Iraq remains fragile, despite improvements in the political and security situations. A judicious drawdown of American troops should proceed in line with the recently negotiated Status of Forces Agreement. Iran's position in the region has only strengthened in recent years, as a result of the war in Iraq and revenues from surging oil prices. And there is growing concern over Iran's capacity to produce significant amounts of nuclear weapon-grade fuel and support to Hamas and Hezbollah. Arab-Israeli peace initiatives with Syria, over the Golan Heights issue, and the Palestinian Authority, have been left to falter.

View full text of article.

More on This Topic

Article

China's Great Rebalancing Act

Authors: Nicholas Consonery, Evan A. Feigenbaum, Damien Ma, Michal Meidan, and Henry Hoyle
Eurasia Group

Nicholas Consonery, Evan A. Feigenbaum, Damien Ma, Michael Meidan, and Henry Hoyle argue that China's capital-intensive, export-oriented...

Article
Renewing America

Renewing America

Marx Awakes as China Rises

Author: Walter Russell Mead
American Interest

Walter Russell Mead discusses fundamental changes in China's labor force.