“Strategic Adaptation: Toward a New US Strategy in the Middle East”
On Wednesday, the Center for a New American Security published a paper entitled “Strategic Adaptation: Toward a New U.S. Strategy in the Middle East.” In the paper, authors Bruce W. Jentleson, Andrew M. Exum, Melissa G. Dalton and J. Dana Stuster argue that “the United States must recalibrate its strategies to address the sweeping changes across the Middle East.”
Jentleson et al assert the Arab Spring in particular exposes what they believe are a number of false assumptions that the United States has based its foreign policy on. These include: that Arab regimes could be relied on for security/economic cooperation without implementing reforms, that relations with Israel would continue to be grounded by a uniform strategic outlook, and finally that the United States is the primary actor in the region and capable of effectively countering adversaries and antagonists. Acknowledging these false assumptions would, in the near term, allow the United States to address Iranian nuclear proliferation, Israeli-Egyptian relations, and the crises in Syria and Yemen.
In the long term, the paper argues, a shift in U.S. strategy would involve acknowledging the return of politics to the Middle East by engaging the Arab public rather than regimes, reducing dependency on the Persian Gulf and revitalizing Arab-Israeli peace efforts.