Restoring the Balance

Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President

RICHARD N. HAASS
MARTIN INDYK
STEPHEN BIDDLE
MICHAEL E. O’HANLON
KENNETH M. POLLACK
SUZANNE MALONEY
RAY TAKEYH
BRUCE RIEDEL
GARY SAMORE
STEVEN A. COOK
SHIBLEY TELHAMI
ISOBEL COLEMAN
TAMARA COFMAN WITTES
DANIEL BYMAN
STEVEN SIMON
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 232
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7864/j.ctt1262p2
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  • Book Info
    Restoring the Balance
    Book Description:

    The next U.S. president will need to pursue a new strategic framework for advancing American interests in the Middle East. The mounting challenges include sectarian conflict in Iraq, Iran's pursuit of nuclear capabilities, failing Palestinian and Lebanese governments, a dormant peace process, and the ongoing war against terror. Compounding these challenges is a growing hostility toward U.S. involvement in the Middle East. The old policy paradigms, whether President George W. Bush's model of regime change and democratization or President Bill Clinton's model of peacemaking and containment, will no longer suit the likely circumstances confronting the next administration in the Middle East. In Restoring the Balance,experts from the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution and from the Council on Foreign Relations propose a new, nonpartisan strategy drawing on the lessons of past failures to address both the short-term and long-term challenges to U.S. interests. Following an overview chapter by Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center, individual chapters address the Arab-Israeli conflict, counterterrorism, Iran, Iraq, political and economic development, and nuclear proliferation. Specific policy recommendations stem from in-depth research and extensive dialogue with individuals in government, media, academia, and the private sector throughout the region. The experts include Stephen Biddle, Isobel Coleman, Steven A. Cook, Steven Simon, and Ray Takeyh from the Council on Foreign Relations and Daniel L. Byman, Suzanne Maloney, Kenneth M. Pollack, Bruce Riedel, ShibleyTelhami, and Tamara Cofman Wittes from Brookings' Saban Center.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0188-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. VII-xii)
    Richard N. Haass and Strobe Talbott

    EVERY NEW PRESIDENT inherits a host of policy challenges. But the president elected in November 2008 will be confronted by a Middle East demanding his attention just as the global recession will constrain the resources and time he can devote to it. Iran’s pursuit of nuclear capabilities and regional dominance, a strained U.S. military tied down in Iraq, a war that is going badly in Afghanistan, a stagnant Arab-Israeli peace process, hostility toward U.S. involvement in the region—all create a dangerous, complicated, and urgent policy environment.

    Recognizing that new approaches based on in-depth research and careful consideration of alternative...

  4. 1 A Time for Diplomatic Renewal: Toward a New U.S. Strategy in the Middle East
    (pp. 1-26)
    RICHARD N. HAASS and MARTIN INDYK

    THE FORTY-FOURTH PRESIDENT will face a series of critical, complex, and interrelated challenges in the Middle East that will demand his immediate attention: an Iran apparently intent on approaching or crossing the nuclear threshold as quickly as possible; a fragile situation in Iraq that is straining the U.S. military; weak governments in Lebanon and Palestine under challenge from stronger Hezbollah and Hamas militant organizations; a faltering Israeli-Palestinian peace process; and American influence diluted by a severely damaged reputation. The president will need to initiate multiple policies to address all these challenges but will quickly discover that time is working against...

  5. 2 The Evolution of Iraq Strategy
    (pp. 27-58)
    STEPHEN BIDDLE, MICHAEL E. O’HANLON and KENNETH M. POLLACK

    OVER THE PAST FIVE YEARS, Iraq has become one of the most divisive and polarizing issues in modern American history. It is now a subject on which Republicans and Democrats tend to disagree fundamentally about the past (the reasons for going to war), the present (the impact of the “surge” in American forces), and the future of American policy (how quickly, and in what way, American forces should leave Iraq). Reflecting this divide, the two presidential candidates staked out starkly opposite positions during the campaign, with much of the public debate more emotional and ideological than substantive.

    With the campaign...

  6. 3 Pathway to Coexistence: A New U.S. Policy toward Iran
    (pp. 59-92)
    SUZANNE MALONEY and RAY TAKEYH

    THE NEW AMERICAN PRESIDENT, like each of his five predecessors over the past three decades, will be confronted quickly with the need to address profound U.S. concerns about Iran, including its nuclear ambitions, its involvement in terrorism and regional instability, and its repression of its own citizenry. Thanks to events of recent years, Tehran now has acquired the means to influence all of the region’s security dilemmas, and it appears unlikely that any of the Arab world’s crises, from the persistent instability in Iraq and Lebanon to security of the Persian Gulf, can be resolved without Iran’s acquiescence or assistance....

  7. 4 Managing Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East
    (pp. 93-130)
    BRUCE RIEDEL and GARY SAMORE

    CURRENT U.S. EFFORTS to stop Iran’s nuclear program have failed. Fortunately, however, because of technical limits, Iran appears to be two to three years away from building an enrichment facility capable of producing sufficient weapons-grade uranium quickly enough to support a credible nuclear weapons option. As a consequence, the incoming U.S. administration will likely have some breathing space to develop a new diplomatic approach to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability. Part of this new approach should involve direct and unconditional talks between the United States and Iran on a range of bilateral issues, as well as formal...

  8. 5 Addressing the Arab-Israeli Conflict
    (pp. 131-158)
    STEVEN A. COOK and SHIBLEY TELHAMI

    AFTER SEVEN YEARS ON the back burner of American foreign policy, Arab-Israeli peacemaking needs to become a priority for the next president. Recent trends in Israel and the Palestinian territories have created a situation in which the option of a two-state solution may soon no longer be possible. Failure to forge an agreement will present serious complications for other American policies in the Middle East because the Arab-Israeli conflict remains central not only to Israel and its neighbors but also to the way most Arabs view the United States. Failure will also inevitably pose new strategic and moral challenges for...

  9. 6 Economic and Political Development in the Middle East: Managing Change, Building a New Kind of Partnership
    (pp. 159-186)
    ISOBEL COLEMAN and TAMARA COFMAN WITTES

    U.S.-ARAB STRATEGIC COOPERATION in coming years will be crucial to confronting common regional challenges, but to be effective it will need to overcome the tensions of the past eight years. These tensions arose not merely from differences between the United States and its major regional Arab partners over the war in Iraq, U.S. counterterrorism policies, American neglect of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and its approach to Iran, but also from the Bush administration’s start-and-stop attempts to encourage democracy. Bush’s Freedom Agenda produced slim gains, while creating cynicism about American interest in democracy among regional activists, as well as tensions with Arab...

  10. 7 Counterterrorism and U.S. Policy toward the Middle East
    (pp. 187-216)
    DANIEL BYMAN and STEVEN SIMON

    THE NEXT PRESIDENT should make counterterrorism an integral part of his approach to the Middle East but not the only driver of his regional policy. Terrorist attacks can derail, at times dramatically, an administration’s regional objectives and in extreme circumstances can cause tremendous loss of innocent life and reduced public confidence in government.¹ The radicalization that underpins terrorism stemming from the Middle East will make it harder for the new administration to pursue political reform in the region and to enlist regional governments in cooperative endeavors. In addition to these threats to U.S. regional interests, a successful attack carried out...

  11. About the Authors
    (pp. 217-221)
  12. TOWARD A NEW U.S.-MIDDLE EAST STRATEGY: PROJECT BOARD OF ADVISORS
    (pp. 222-222)
  13. Index
    (pp. 223-232)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 233-234)