ISIS establishes a jihadist caliphate across Syria and Iraq. Iran pursues its nuclear ambitions. Syria remains mired in a terrible civil war, exacting a toll on the civilian population and region. In this podcast, Senior Fellow Michael Doran ( @doranimated) offers his views on these and related developments, the Obama administration’s response to them, and what he believes is the “great white whale” of President Obama’s Middle East strategy. Although he says that Obama’s initiatives in the region have failed, he explains what the president can do to put together a coalition of like-minded powers to act as a counterweight to the ISIS threat.
Doran also offers candid thoughts about why “academia is a profoundly conformist place,” how he made the transition from that world to government and then to a think tank, and why he wanted to be a Middle East scholar in the first place.
Plus, highlights from a recent Brookings expert panel on Russia and Ukraine, and what Russia’s foreign policy moves indicate about Vladimir Putin’s view on the global order.
• “Somebody Else’s Civil War” (Doran’s article in Foreign Affairs, January/February 2002)
• The Arc of Crisis: Beirut to Baghdad (Brookings event in which Doran made the Sarah Palin reference)
• “Iran Surprises Itself and the World” (Brookings Essay by Suzanne Maloney)
• “Is Obama Like Eisenhower?” (article by Doran)
• “Pursue Regime Change in Syria” (Big Bets/Black Swans memo by Doran)
• “Reconciliation with Iran Helps Fuel Middle East Mayhem” (for Doran’s Captain Ahab reference)
• “Going the Distance: On and off the road with Barack Obama” (David Remnick’s interview with the president)
• Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin (book by Cliff Gaddy and Fiona Hill)
Send feedback or questions for podcast guests to BCP@brookings.edu.