All nations, including our own, develop foreign policies — long- and short-term — that reflect their goals and guide their behavior in regard to other nations or regions they deem important to their national interests. This selection of video clips from 2013 Conference speakers explores recent events in the Middle East and related US policy from a variety of perspectives, with topics including: current US policies in the region, the historical development of these policies, consideration of policy successes and failures, lessons learned from each, and a way forward for US policy makers in the 21st century.
In assessing US foreign policy, consider also the significance of strategy. Although a clear goal may well exist in policy, implementation of action steps to achieve that goal may or may not succeed. In this realm of uncertainty between stated goals and effective implementation of action steps, strategy is tested.
In this sense, strategy reflects the ever-changing dynamic of working toward stated policy goals through diplomatic and military action. Strategy can change as events unfold, whereas policy goals usually remain constant. Your students should consider this issue by asking themselves: What factors need to be considered in developing strategy? What are the challenges to implementation of that strategy? What developments on the ground or in dialogue might lead to a change in policy goals?
Please review the video clips below to learn more about the interplay of policy and strategy.
Policy Assessment Video Links
Tribes as Limiting Factors, Robin Wright
Change in the Arab World, Marwan Muasher
Democratic Norms in the Middle East, Marwan Muasher
Role for the United States to Effect Change, Marwan Muasher
History of Control, Joshua Landis
Recent US Policy, Joshua Landis
Current Policy Dilemma, Joshua Landis
Defines the Middle Eastern Cold War, Gregory Gause
The Crescent of Weakness, Gregory Gause
The United States and Proliferation of the Middle Eastern Cold War, Gregory Gause
The Balance of Power in the Middle East, Gregory Gause
Arab Spring or Islamic Revolution, Gregory Gause
The Saudi’s Push Back to Maintain Their Sphere of Influence, Gregory Gause
Syria and the Balance of Power in the Middle East, Gregory Gause
Is History Repeating Itself, Gregory Gause
Preamble – Five Aspects of the Policy Considerations, Shai Feldman
Would a Military Strike Against Iran Result in Regional Conflict, Shai Feldman
How Would the Obama Administration Respond, Shai Feldman
Concluding Remarks, Shai Feldman
US Policy Toward Iran, Mousavian
Dual Policy Followed by West, Mousavian
Militarization of US Policy, Larry Pope
Role of Foreign Service, Larry Pope
Obama Strategy, Larry Pope
Hillary Clinton’s Role, Larry Pope
Study Guide Questions for Policy Assessment
1. How is US economic policy modifying our relationship with the Middle East?
2. What is policy and how is it developed and applied?
3. What ideas or values shape policy goals?
4. To what extent does strategy fulfill policy goals?
5. How does US economic policy treat our different relationships in the Middle East?