America’s Past, Present, and Future in the Middle East

Project Expert

Steven A. Cook
Steven A. Cook

Eni Enrico Mattei Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies and Director of the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars

About the Project

In recent years, calls have surged for the United States to draw down its forces and limit its engagement in the Middle East. This push for retrenchment rests on the premise that America’s interests in the region are declining and that continued engagement will only drain U.S. resources. That premise, however, neglects important lessons from the past decade and fails to recognize that U.S. interests in the region are changing rather than diminishing. The Project on America’s Past, Present, and Future in the Middle East explores how U.S. interests in the region are evolving and what that means for U.S. policy choices. The free flow of energy and ensuring Israeli security—long core U.S. concerns in the region—remain important for now, but in the years to come the security challenges stemming from climate change, migration, and infectious disease will rise. These global threats are likely to be particularly malign in the Middle East, adding a new dimension to instability across the region. The project will produce a series of meetings and articles, culminating in a book, titled The End of Ambition, that will chart a way forward for the United States in a changing region that remains relevant to American security and prosperity.