Restoring the Balance
A Middle East Strategy for the Next President
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 R estoring 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.