America's Flawed Ideas in the Middle East
A briefing by Martin Kramer
The idea of promoting peace in the Middle East by transforming governments into democracies has unquestionably failed, according to one foreign-policy expert, leaving the United States searching for a definitive policy in one of the most volatile regions of the world.
"This has left us at one of those rare moments when the playing field is suddenly made level for the competition of new big ideas," said Martin Kramer, a fellow at both the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Harvard University, during a lecture held at the Union League of Philadelphia.
Sponsored by the Middle East Forum, Kramer's Oct. 29 talk, titled "America's Flawed Ideas in the Middle East," examined two theories being discussed in Washington about U.S. policy, both of which he finds misguided. One idea being kicked around, he said, is called "engagement" -- a theory that abandons the idea of militarily transforming the Mideast, and that would necessitate a scaling back of U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The Middle East has its problems, but everything we do just makes it worse," said Kramer, outlining the engagement option to an audience of about 150 people. This would mean that "we must get ourselves back over the horizon and as much out of the Arab line of sight as possible." (...)