The Middle East that Awaits a New US Administration Politique étrangère, vol.81, No.2, Summer 2016
Along with a history marked by intervention from external powers, the Middle East is now confronting conflicts which combine political, ethnic and religious dimensions. The United States can not withdraw its “leadership” in the area. Aside from the Syrian question, the next American administration will have to redefine the network of partnerships and alliances in the region and grapple with a multitude of problems, none of which have simple solutions.
Not since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I has the Middle East been wracked with so much change, violence, and uncertainty.
When long building pressures erupted with the so-called “ Arab Spring” in 2011, Henry Kissinger presciently said that it was only “scene one of act one of a five act play”. Before we can venture even a guess about the next scene or act and how American policymakers might approach it, it’s necessary to step back and examine the region in its broader setting.
John McLaughlin was Deputy Director of the CIA from 2000 to 2004. He now teaches at the Johns Hopkins University and conducts research for the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies of Washington.
Article published in Politique étrangère, vol. 81, No. 2, Summer 2016.