About the Project
Despite the challenge from China, the United States has been unable to “escape” from the Middle East. Iran’s efforts to expand its influence in an area—from Iraq, the Gulf, and Yemen to Syria and Lebanon—with many U.S. friends and allies and a still-critical amount of oil exports combine with its nuclear program to make the Islamic Republic an inevitable focus of U.S. foreign policy. Add concern about the security of Israel and other allies such as Jordan and Egypt; the struggle for democracy and human rights in the Arab monarchies and especially in the Arab republics; and the roles of Russia, Turkey, and China, and the failure to “pivot to Asia” becomes easily understandable. As a former NSC official in charge of policy in the region, and more recently Special Representative for Iran in the State Department, I began writing about the Middle East immediately upon leaving the government in January 2021. In roundtables, writings, congressional testimony, and participation in conferences and panels, my goal will be to examine U.S. interests and policies in the Middle East and North Africa as a new U.S. administration grapples with the region.