Beginning in 1977, Former president Jimmy Carter’s administration was one of the most consequential for American foreign policy in the Middle East. His determination to secure an Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty transformed the Arab-Israeli confrontation in many ways. During his presidency, the shah of Iran was replaced by Ayatollah Khomeini and the ensuing hostage crisis doomed Carter’s re-election. The Iran-Iraq war also began on his watch. In Afghanistan, Carter devised the strategy and alliances that defeated the Soviet Union and won the Cold War. However, Carter has been an outcast in American politics for four decades.
On June 17, the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings hosted award winning author Kai Bird for a discussion of the Carter administration’s foreign policy in the Middle East and Bird’s new book, “The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter,” which considers the triumphs and failures of the Carter presidency. Brookings Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel, whose career in the CIA began during the Carter administration, joined Bird for a discussion of the legacy of the Carter administration forty years later.
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