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Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President
Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President
The Brookings Institution and the Council on Foreign Relations have joined efforts to conduct research, travel the region, and develop non-partisan policy recommendations for the President-Elect Barack Obama. You can purchase your own copy of “Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President” online, and executive summaries of all the chapters, along with two full chapters, are available as well.
Thursday, December 4,2008 04:08
pomed.org

The Brookings Institution and the Council on Foreign Relations have joined efforts to conduct research, travel the region, and develop non-partisan policy recommendations for the President-Elect Barack Obama.  You can purchase your own copy of “Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President” online, and executive summaries of all the chapters, along with two full chapters, are available as well.

In the chapter “Time for Diplomatic Renewal: Toward a New U.S. Strategy in the Middle East,” Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations and Martin Indyk of the Brooking’s Saban Center recommend a change in focus in the region from Iraq to Iran.  The authors insist that Obama offer direct official engagement with the Iranian government, without preconditions, while developing incentives to stymie the country’s nuclear program.  In addition, the authors recommend that Obama promote peace agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbors, including Syria and Palestine, with an emphasis on diplomatic tools.

In the chapter “Development in the Middle East: Managing Change, Building a New Kinds of Partnership,” Isobel Coleman and Tamara Cofman Wittes warn that Obama cannot simply set aside concerns over democracy and development in favor of securing other interests.  The authors recommend using U.S. economic and political leverage to help build a more stable and prosperous Middle East that “gives a vast and rising young generation hope for the future and reason to resist dark visions purveyed by regional radicals.”  Importantly, Obama must realize that political evolution takes time, and that “the United States, while retaining significant influence over the region’s authoritarian rulers, cannot dictate terms to them.”

In addition, authors Stephen Biddle, Michael O’Hanlon, and Kenneth Pollack make recommendations for U.S. strategy in Iraq, while Suzanne Maloney and Ray Takeyh focus on a policy toward Iran, and Bruce Riedel and Gary Samore explore how to manage nuclear proliferation in the region.  Steven Cook and Shibley Telhami address the Arab-Israeli conflict and Daniel Byman and Steven Simon focus on counterterrorism.


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