What America Should Do Next in the Middle East

The policies of the Obama administration led to carnage in Syria, regional chaos, and the rise of Iran and its alliance with Russia. Can the momentum be reversed—without going to war?

A truck tows armored combat vehicles belonging to an Iraqi anti-Islamic State paramilitary group on August 31, 2017. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images.

A truck tows armored combat vehicles belonging to an Iraqi anti-Islamic State paramilitary group on August 31, 2017. AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images.

Essay
Sept. 5 2017
About the authors

Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the author of Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East (2016), is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former senior director of the National Security Council. He tweets @doranimated.

Peter Rough is a fellow at the Hudson Institute in national security and international relations.


During last year’s presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to do a great deal more in the Middle East than his immediate predecessors, but with much less. That is, he would achieve significantly more than Barack Obama at a much smaller sacrifice of blood and treasure than was incurred under George W. Bush. This he would accomplish by defining American interests sharply and pursuing them aggressively, not to say ruthlessly. The result would be a global restoration of American credibility and, as Trump never ceased to remind voters, renewed global respect.

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More about: Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Iran, Middle East, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Syria