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Past Event

Sustainable US presence in the Middle East: Balancing short and long-term needs

Past Event

The president’s Interim National Security Guidance states that in the Middle East, “we will right-size our military presence to the level required to disrupt international terrorist networks, deter Iranian aggression, and protect other vital U.S. interests.” Against this backdrop are many questions concerning how the U.S. can balance its military commitments in the Middle East while also prioritizing longer-term progress. Is the current force posture necessary to support a more limited view of U.S. interests in the region, and are these commitments sustainable?  Do current commitments in the region create unnecessary risks and constrain strategic choices to prepare for the future? What are the long-term trade-offs of more, or less, U.S. presence in the Middle East?

On April 19, Foreign Policy at Brookings convened a panel of practitioners, academics, and policy experts to address these key questions and discuss what a sustainable military presence in the Middle East looks like. Questions from the audience followed the discussion.

Viewers submitted questions via email to or on Twitter using #USMiddleEast.



Daniel L. Magruder Jr.

Federal Executive Fellow - The Brookings Institution

Colonel - U.S. Air Force


Robert Pape

Professor of Political Science - University of Chicago

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