tv U.S. Policy Toward the Middle East CSPAN April 9, 2016 4:45am-5:59am EDT
especially while they occupied the white house. over 100ison owned slaves, holding a large percentage while he occupied the white house. he is responsible for proposing and expanding the 3/5 compromise that guaranteed the south's disproportionate control on congress to uphold slave-owning interests. this professor will discuss on a 12 american slaveowning presidents. for the complete schedule, go to c-span.org. next, a discussion about the united states's policy towards the middle east. indiana university recently held a conference on the united states's role in the world. this is about one hour, 10
minutes. >> ok, good morning and welcome to the second session of the america's role in the world conference. the hussein banai, assistant professor here at the indiana university department of international studies. i have the pleasure of moderating this very distinguished panel. before i get into the introduction of our panelists, i thought it would be best to kind of setup the main subject matter of our panel, which is america's role in the middle east. very these, we could positively argue, i think, we are not for america's role in
the middle east. wonck obama would not have the presidency in 2008, if not for the then-state senator barack obama's role in iraq, which hillary clinton authorized. he would've had a difficult way of distinguishing himself as the main rival for the democratic nomination. the iraq war and its aftermath than the was as much a litmus test on presidential judgment and foresight in 2008 as the consolation of subsequent wars, proxy, civil, asymmetrical, you unter-coups,p, co and diplomatic breakthroughs,. -- breakthroughs.
jeffrey goldberg has recently route served -- observed a piece in "the atlantic" magazine on the obama doctrine and that he obama has come to a number of duck tailing in the united states as well and has come to a number of duck tailing conclusions in the world and america's role in it. the first is that the middle east is no longer terribly thertant to american -- world's interest. the second is that there would still be little that an american president could do to make it a better place. the third is an innate american desire to sort problems that manifest themselves most
drastically in the middle east. that would lead to warfare and the deaths of u.s. soldiers and the eventual hemorrhaging's of u.s. credibility and power." this newo make of trajectory and some might say refreshingly ideological view? evidence ofirical america's involvement or out thevement bear president's retrospective articulation of his strategy and doctrine? what is likely to endure and likely to change in this calculus will change with the new president in office in 2017.y of to help us answer these questions and to make sense of the geostrategic maze that continues to be the middle east, we are fortunate to be joined by this distinguished panel of expert, stage, and veteran observers of the region all. wright is a robin
veteran journalist who has performed in more than two at 40 countries, from "the los angeles times" and "the washington post." she has covered one dozen wars and several resolutions and she joins us here today, having just reported on the frontlines of the war against isis. we are very ego -- very eager to hear of her report on that. her most recent book is "rock the casbah," but her books also include, "dreams and shadows," of course, i am just listing my favorite ones, but the second
one is titled, "dreams and shadows," and of course, one of and then we have tamara cofman wittes, the senior fellow at brookings institute. she served as the assistant secretary of state from 2009 until 2012 coordinating u.s. policy on u.s. policy in the state department. as the deputyd special coordinator. she was central to organizing response to the arab awakening. she is the author of freedoms on study more -- "freedoms on as well ashes" cross-cultural analyses of the
peace process. she also has a new piece in "the atlantic" and we will get to that as well. ambassador have feisal istrabadi. he is a professor of the practice of international law hisdiplomacy with employment here at lamarr school feisal istrabadi was appointed to the united nations in 2004. prior, he served as the legal iraqi minister of foreign affairs on the un security council under resolution 246. reassertionzes the of iraq by sovereignty. he is also the principal legal 's constitution and the law of administration for the state of iraq. he is as well as the fundamental
i think the foreign-policy has been quite sage and approach the region. in contrast to the bush aministration, there is also sense that the united states can't always define what democracy is going to look like in another part of the world, that we know what our values are, that we want to nurture, thatrt, and aid a system would aspire to those values and that we can't put in place for people that we think could do it best. that is one of the most frustrating things, coming back the iraq, is knowing that
americans could fight i so much faster, much more effectively, then the iraqis or the kind of that syria could. create a viable iraq, we have to let the iraqis invest in the process and be responsible for it. i think that is a hard thing for a president who is conscious of his legacy, who has four or eight years to try to achieve a goal and that he knows that this is not going to be concluded when he leaves office and then he will bear responsibility for that cut off point and where things stand at that juncture. so i think somebody with real guts has to take this. my father was a law professor and always taught me that you can take any issue by standing on top of the world and looking down. i think obama is very good at that. by when heery struck
deals with the iran nuclear issue or with isis of that he really tries to define policy long-term,n the wider world perspective. for that, even though there are shortcomings and you could criticize them for a lot of things that have failed to happen, i think he has been quite effective. i want to be brief so i will leave it there. >> first, let me add my own thanks to my friend and former state department colleague, richard fontaine. when i was a newly-minted graduate of oberlin college and move to washington, i sat in on hearing that you held on democracy in the middle east. wasink sitting in the room one of the things that drove me toward a career in foreign policy, so i wanted to thank you.
so let me say, look, any president's legacy in foreign calculus that is about the cards that he has been dealt and how he plays them. and i think it is clear in "the theantic article -- "i atlantic" article that this region was underinvested and there were other places were there were risks and opportunities that needed to be dealt with and therefore, he wanted greater burden-sharing on these policies in the middle east and other parts of the world. the problem is, in order to achieve that objective, a global like the united states as
-- united states states. he is opening up a new geopolitical power system. this has lost some of its core, stable partners which is now so mired in disaster. we can't play an effective role. these are things that happened inside the state. so it to begin by understanding and then moving from that to we needmust do, i think
first to understand that the requisites for diminished american roles in the middle east are not there. they are not going to be there for some time to come. in fact, the opposite. opposite, the threats generated by this breakdown in order because they were not well addressed, not by regional actors, have threatened european integration i think that is really his legacy of what happened how the u.s. responded. this is 2016, which is to say
it is the 100th anniversary of the agreement. that being the case, whenever i began to about the middle east i always start by trying to -- it did not.he that relates to how i will respond to your question. what they did were reported to do with purported to define the spheres of influence in the middle east between the presumptive victorious powers, great britain, france, and russia. the russian revolution took care of russia's role in the distribution of wealth.
it seems to me the lasting is a real growing out of the courtiers, necessarily, i think orders will be more , butling something like rather of spheres of influence. i take it in the atlantic piece , when thened president says that saudi arabia is going to have to learn to share the middle east with iran, i take it that buttresses an argument that i have been making for months before the atlantic interview was published. new --ere is in fact a were at least in the president's mind, at least baghdad, if not
damascusaq, at least and at least parts of lebanon are part of iranian sphere of influence. it that the goal -- the arabian peninsula, at the very least, including the arab , at least thatf is part of the saudi series so you see the united states is effective -- with de facto iran allies in iraq. certainly the obama administration is certainly not interested, except rhetorically
at one point in removing iran's allies in syria. it does not seem to have any , whichat all in lebanon is unfortunate from the lebanese respecter i suspect but it is supporting saudi arabia and proxy war in yemen. driven as much closer .han they were i think this will be the lasting legacy. i think it is an unfortunate legacy to with all respect to my dear friend, i think we're going of thegree on the wisdom
obama administration's policy in the middle east. being a 21st century doctrine, when you described it, i thought of a early 20th individual. better, even if you can do it better than the locals it is better if you let the locals do it. this doctor that you articulated has been around at least since colonel lawrence, and who can disagree with a man played by peter o'toole? [laughter] t let me start by adding my thanks to the organizers into doing remarkable things with the school and
conference. thank you for having me here. two points about the role of middle east and the united states today. there is a pervasive sense that the united states is disengaged from the region and was this to disengage from there. i think a lot of this is a response to the kinds of rhetorical expressions inside goldberg and things like that. if you look at where the united states is active today, we have troops back in iraq. we had troops carrying on military action in both of those countries. the united states is carrying out military action in both human and libya. secretary of state the first half of his year in turn trying to achieve a deal on middle east peace. we give billions of dollars of aid to countries in the region.
iran deal consumed a senior -- at that a great deal of great deal of senior politicians attention. the second point i will make. ultimately the fear of the slippery slope. the idea that even a relatively modest amount of engagement, particularly military engagement will lead to another iraq and all the catastrophic publications. 150,000 american troops, casualties, etc.. president to be very skeptical. first he to the american forces out of iraq and was very hesitant to get back in after toppling muammar gaddafi is
libya. in conducting most military activities through drone strikes, airstrikes, things like that. it is part of this broader, green strategy that robin described and that our moderator described, rebalance toward asia and not have strategic distraction in the quagmires that animate the middle east today. but i think there has been a problem that has occurred in the attempt to avoid the slippery slope of it is that we have slid down anyway. we don't correct, but we are back with the same number of troops we would've had had we not withdrawn at all. we try not to get involved in syria, and today we have special operations forces on the ground we are evolving isis every day -- on the ground and we are evolving isis forces every day.
we just got to the point where we are actively libya again, and that will only increase with what the militaries are renting to the president. between theions perception of american disengagement and the reality of american activity. with the administration's desire to avoid a slippery slope in terms of american engagement in the middle east and the fact it has been direct down that slope. thank you. another noted journalist mentioned to me a few weeks ago fromit seems to have gone reptilian fascination with iraq to benign neglect, and that is a which isising in
was born. really, this is all a consequence of this case with a when thepragmatism united states needed to perhaps entrenched more and devote itself to the project of nationbuilding in iraq. you have just returned from iraq. this firsthand. is that an accurate characterization? >> good question. that weant to point out have finally come around to the same conclusion.
the problem with aurora isil really goes back to what we tried to accomplish the first time around. just a little note. staff,joint chiefs of they were initially very opposed to the search. college shooting out al qaeda, they were concerned because they did not have that the iraqi factions could address the basic question to guarantee that iraq would be viable as a state after saddam hussein. how to share political power, and how do you divide up equity the resources of a country that has the world's fifth-largest oil reserves? united states to go in with a search and they did succeed in
pushing al qaeda back underground. but they never addressed those fundamental issues. they linger still to this day. that does not know how each community will deal with each other, there is the sense that everybody wants a little bit more of the pie than the other guy, just as if they have a little bit more to ensure their own seat, protection and political life. in that environment, where you have a very distant society. where the kurds feel isolated or betrayed, the sunnis do not trust the shiite dominated government, i am sure these are supplications, but they are the operating hypotheses that you have an environment where a sunnivative, traditional
ul, they had and is compatible with isis well for isis moved in. the basic problems. isis as theook at military or security challenge when it actually is a fundamental political problem. you do not have a popular, credible, viable government and you saw the uprising has been exploited by everybody in the region. the question now is can you can reconstitute every state? and where the borders that revival ever?
-- edward a borders that were viable ever? we do not know the answer. but one of the problems of u.s. policies of the moment is we're not putting those fundamental questions on the table. should we be using our military might and muscle? actually be using our economic treasure, should begin using our human capital to protect the borders? while we talk a lot about how much we want to do to defeat crisis, we are not talking about what is viable for this region. onlyve gone through not the rebalance of broader power, whether it is three emergence of the increasing marginalization of saudi arabia,
the rebalancing of power within states and what is going to be viable. we are not being affected against isis. isis has lost 40% of its iraq, 10% of its territory in syria. the question everybody asked me was not can we defeat isis, but who is going to rule iraq? who is going to rule mosul? who are the viable entities afterward? we did not get it right the first time. vacuum, but a certainly it is an unproductive process in figuring out if they do take that second-largest city, if they can restore much of the traditional state, what is not going to have not just in osul, but in terms of iraq and
sharing power. if they cannot, then the modern map of the middle east is finished. >> i think robin has done a fantastic job of laying out the challenge, the breakdown of social trust in these societies, whether it is a rough, syria, or libya. and the breakdown of social trust is a consequence of the way they were governed great the fact that different groups were laid off against one another in a divide and rule manner. the fact that these governments, because they were autocratic governments, and that is what autocratic government days, worked to erode, destroy, co-opt andindependent community the situation where people get to know one another figure out ways to live together peacefully and this is what you have left.
this is an authoritarian legacy. i think to a degree it was inevitable, and the matter how or when those regime fell. that said, it has been exacerbated vast and a number of places around the region by the actions of the regional states, and by neglect and intervention will weather was benign or i do think there are a couple of things to emphasize about the american role and where we go from here. simplerhat it is not the military withdrawal from iraq that left us with this to get of being unable in the way of maliki's dismantling of the iraqi state and iraqi army. i do not want to say anything until this gentleman that he could not say 10,000 times more
on but i think that we saw not only a military this engagement but a civilian disengagement. our democracy assistance declined, or civilian presence was constrained for a lot of different reasons including security reasons. rock ofleverage over a our ability to shape that trajectory was a consequence not only our military presence but all these other elements of foreign policy as well. back bye all pulled administration that wanted to show the american who voted for it twice that they were getting thatf this business and had real consequences on the ground, and now has we have always dressed we are back in a i do not think that the question of what we think about the middle east is fundamentally about the territory in state orders.
borders. the ability to share dollar and live together is a problem no matter where you draw the line. you cannot draw a line between sunni and shia in a rock that will not be fought over. i think this is a political challenge. it is a challenge in terms of building capacity in the communities for conflict resolution, for negotiation, for power-sharing, politics, because if you cannot solve these peacefully, you solve them violently. then give credit to the obama administration for ineffective and her directly, or slings out to the iranian who are the -- >> because they have done such a great job at stabilizing the region? [laughter] >> do you think that has been
their state of policy, that irans's mattress through -- sphere of influence alone them to establish social trust and get for groups to get along? do you think it is more naïve than that? naïve, not think it is but i also think it is some sort toconspiratorial thing carbon into spheres of influence. with the breakdown of this ,riginal order, ever since this it has sought to light the car of society. that is how it works. ,elow the level of this date through subversion, through destabilization with nonstate actors.
2011, the arab uprising gave a run incredible opportunities but couldn't not have imagined and exploited them successfully. by the way, many of the arab states in the region and divisions in their own society made it easy for a run -- iran. the sectarian divide has been exacerbated by actions on the both sides. administration, i do not believe it is a matter of grand strategy. i do not believe in conspiracy theories either. just because i have a middle eastern namem -- [laughter] i do believe concrete can bungle their way into a situation that is what i believe the obama administration did in iraq. picking up on the bubbling of
this administration before. the bush demonstration did not leave us with a record to be admired in iraq. inhough iraq was more stable january of 2009 than it is today. so i would like to say what happens is the obama toinistration, the iranians ok advantage of a bullet. at the obama industry should is willing to accommodate the wrong filling that void. i think that this would present -- saudit he said the arabia has to learn to share the middle east with iran. but i do not think that he needs a run gets to keep iraq. those with the comment must mean.
one thing we have not talked about here is the extent to which iraq and syria are deeply interpreted at multiple levels -- connected at multiple levels. not only is isolate trying to erase the international order -- isolate trying to erase an international order and move back and forth freely, but what iraq for syria. because syria has situation exactly in reverse to iraq if you want to think in terms of secretary -- of the sectarian. the heavy sunni minority 2003, with aior to shia state. if you have this worldview
committee would want to see that when the sunni power in iraq lost everything, there was no power-sharing absolutely right about that. for 13 years we've been talking about reconciliation in a row there has been that a single significant step toward reconciliation there has been no power-sharing. when the minority fell, it lost everything. , if you wereke you a syrian, fight tooth and nail to stay in power. i think those things have to be looked at in interconnection with one another. >> on this question of a wrong, i think the administration has been a bit of the company in terms of how they articulate what they want out of a wrong postnuclear deal. theome days they will say nuclear deal was an arms control
agreement with a dangerous date and this allows us to clear the table to push back against their other activities in the region. will use openly about the possibility of strengthening the moderates at the expense of the hardliners and trying to find constructive regional kinds of solutions. those things may not be mutually exclusive, the fact that on days they articulate one or on days the other combined with this nuclear deal, i think this has given rise to an idea that there is a secret plan of the administration to cut a deal original order that puts the united states in the driver seat in a wrong. i do not see that is true. my second point is about isis. i do not think the isis phenomenon or the fighting that is beyond isis is about the
nationstate borders. it is about governance within those nationstate borders. we have seen many states that are very centralized governance with a minority or sometimes a majority as was the previous case in iraq that is disempowered and disenfranchised who does not have little or economic opportunity. two sunnis that the in places like iraq and syria is the isis is bad, but it is not as bad as they think the shia sectarian government is. we could destroy crisis militarily, and we should try. we should do as much as we can. but if you do not get these underlying phenomena, you're
going to have some of isis and grandson of isis. provocative.be -- i mean,ut iraq iran and the shiite presidents. ad that term was coined in interview i did 2004. neither of us knew that this was going to begin to define the iran agenda or how it was received in the outside world. but there is a counter to that. that is, as the iranians perceive it, the sunni circle and they explore the cracks in the region, but so does tony arabia and there's no question that have funded all kinds of groups.
this is an area sanctioned by terriblyde world, desperate for a very every village there was a nice little mosque. they were all saudi funded it was not just with the saudis are doing in supporting armed groups in syria, it is also the expansion of the ideology, because iran feels they are a minority in terms of the ethnic religion and they look at the world around them.
of course, financial support to other countries in the middle east. there are two different 1979, thes and since dynamics have changed. and in that vacuum, egypt and saudi arabia began to take the place of allies in the region. they were able to do that in the aftermath of the camp david accords, and growing importance. suddenly they had more stringent value for us. our policy went from being sectarian neutral to be heavily sunni in their de facto relationships.
what the obama administration had to decide was whether we want to be on better footing largerpopulation that is than all the other countries , or do we want to try to figure out a way to defuse that conflict. what is interesting is when you look at what saudi arabia's most concerned about they are not afraid that the iranians will is a nuclear weapon if they had one, they are much more concerned about iran's return to the place of our time before 1979. that is why this policy is so controversial and will continue to be, because the saudis have begun to realize that with the price of oil declining that their place in the region is diminishing, and president comments iner blunt
the goldberg interview put them on notice. i have to say, i thought it was refreshing. very and diplomatic, but it was a way of letting the saudi's n know -- they have increasingly treated us as their policeman, and it was a nice way of going through a just putting them on notice. i say, bravo. >> when asked about diplomatic tokens, he said we had been a power in the region since time immoral. although week have done through the nuclear agreement is to acknowledge it. that is an affront to a lot of terror bases. to the ending near
of the panel and i want to make sure that i keep the call of actionable wisdom that the congressman urged us to do. of moving forward, given the shifts that have sustainable is this course that the obama administration has embarked on? the iranians feel that knowledge -- thatll evaporate ,cknowledgment will evaporate or that there will be a reversion back to the old habits of the 70's and israelis he the pillars. on the question of isil, what might the next administration to that the obama administration benign neither through neglect or conspiratorial deals failed to do?
ande can reflect on those not neglect syria, if syria and iraq are indeed the heart of what has preoccupied american foreign policy in the region since the invasion of iraq, what does the united states and iraq and syria -- owe iraq and syria going forward? is it state building? is it something more grand in terms of the agreement? what should they look forward to? mr. fontaine: these are very small questions. [laughter] we will try to rip all of this of in teedo minutes -- wrap all of this up into two
minutes. they would have given the sanctions relief to iran and then have to release iraq from their obligations. i do not think anybody would do that. on isis there are a number of steps that they should intensify in the military operation we have been doing this incrementally a year and a half now there are still areas that we could do more, particularly if the cease-fire breaks down and the geneva process does not take effect in a meaningful conversation. ofhink the establishment safe zones is going to be an important next step. finally, on what we syria and iraq and i would not put it that way. i would say what are our interest in what animates our values?
we have given a lot to the effort in iraq as a country. for models oflook sustainability over the long run in the places, i think we need to look within the existing borders of these countries and keep them fixed, because if you start to change them by force or any other way, the external borders of nationstates, no matter how arbitrarily designed, you open pandora's box and it is a recipe for bloodshed an. but within those borders, anything is possible. if you have a strong man in the capital city who hollows out his civil society, who does not give any power, taught me or authority to the regions or subgroups, it is fundamentally a broken model i do not think you
could put that back together and i do not think it will work in egypt. next there is to look at what are the models of the radical federalism that have many complications. i think they at least have the potential to be successful. that is not something the united states can bring about by just announcing it should happen. but it has to be something that is on the table and everyone is discussions -- in every one of these discussions. first, i agree with you entirely. states, particularly great states, think in terms of the national interest. on a university campus we talk about morality is motivating our lives. that is not how policy is made. but aty comes into it the end of the day states are
acting out of self-interest. so that is the question. one of the things that i want to go back to is the atlantic article. one of the things that struck me hise the president and president -- and his advisers are thinking about the economy, that slippery slope you talked about. i do not recall the specific issue that arose but i remember the vicee issues was president said to the president, remember vietnam war something to that effect. century it is impossible to have an objective
to intervene for a few months. low, but it does not take 150,000. you can actually achieve an objective in a short amount of time and pack up and go home. there is a lesson in that for the next administration. , on the issue of me, anders, it seems to here the policy makers would be doing well to read the academic , it is quite persuasive, quite convincing that if you're trying to wriggle -- regrowth orders only to make peace, you will get more wars and or in any case, you do not get fewer wars.
the same thing happen in the balkans. the south sudanese government accused of committing genocide , notrimes against humanity only civil war's, also international armed conflict. we have to be very careful. if you start redrawing that, look at iraq and what holds us together? togethers the kurds who have been in a constitutional crisis since august, since one man does not want to give up the presidency? the answer is nothing. if a rock falls apart, there is at least a chance that it ends up being another somalia. minds,ght to focus our
and there is an american whatest in that because of my colleagues pointed out, the refugee crisis is impacting the european union. i think we have to be very careful in how we approach this. i will stop there. thank you. first, no matter what the price of oil, or energy we are producing, i think it is clear that the middle east continues to matter to american national interest and to the world. and primarily, for the united states, the security interest in , access for military forces going west to east, we need stability in this region.
it is important the united states. this is a deeply unstable region right now, so we need to find, nurture, bill, sustain anchors of stability. issues are to do that going forward. -- resolving the civil war in ways that we can, and dealing his underlying challenges of governance that driven the instability over the last several decades. comes to working on these issues, resolving conflicts peaceably and sustainably that case, rebuilding governance works.
have to start from the bottom up . to give you one concrete example, the united states deals with humanitarian relief, as we push isis out of territories, we not just in areas of governance, but how does it work for all? can we build communities, skills and platforms to manage the conflict peaceably? we can work with refugees on that right now. while aaron camps, while they are in europe, we can work on with political communities in syria right now. and some of that is going on.
that is one concrete near-term proposal i was bored, but -- i wouldgovernance support, rebuilding governance for the long haul. one thing that concerns me is i do not see a demographic or republican candidate that is a way for century thinker. i do not think there is any candidate will walk away from the toronto, but i think it is wouldikely republicans see the position of more that would erode the spirit of the nuclear deal. granted the muscles program is a longer discussion that is not
part of the nuclear deal, but it is one that gives us the opening act. that would take any prospect of taking what we have created engaging with iran on syria and iraq to make it more difficult. the idea of safe zones, i worry that the sounds wonderfully appealing, oh yeah there is a credencewhere we can owns, particularly inside syria were people will be safe. but the problem is serious different than iraq. we did have no-fly zones in iraq for five years, and bombing the iraqis that got us to them. the problem is we still had to go into a rock to give of saddam hussein, and to distill a problem. -- and it is still a problem. that makes us responsible for what happens next great that really is a slippery slope geographically there are not areas in syria there were in a
rock. -- iraq. there and you do not find areas in northern syria where people could go back. it is not like refugees want to go back to an area where they would be displaced, living intense, and so forth -- living in tents, and so forth. i think that it when it comes to andting the alternatives helping solve the civil wars and so forth, but we are going to be increasingly involved in what they call advise and assist, and we are likely to be sending more and more forces i think you will see an announcement in the next two or three weeks about hundreds more truly. and i think, again, this is something because the operation is a yeare mosul
away. right that strawman don't work for the work, but people really want stability. and you see nothing on the horizon except for a small comment from john kerry rising over the numbers on human rights. ways worse than mubarak was at the height of his power. as we go forward, i think there will be an appeal to i'm someone -- to find someone who is a better strawman then saddam hussein was, or a better strong man then bashir all aside. spendnot want to the human or financial treasure helping them.
this is something we would not have when we're talking about ousting gadhafi in libya. note, richard is right in the revolution is still to come in egypt. this is a country that counts arabne quarter of the ai world population. we need to be we're. beware. in a -- to time when we said we should not have been there anyway. the currents lcc or what is happening within the saudi royal family, there are a lot of history is going to look back on. maps are going to change. i was born the year the u.n. was founded. they're going to change. and yes you have a sudan that is a masculine you also have you softly were plus or minus they
may be better off than they are now because they can be part of a bigger holwhole. i think there is a real danger for us not to be open-minded and think what might be better. there is no question, just spending two weeks in kurdistan commitment the kurds are going their own way. stageay have intermediate of more autonomy, the map is going to change. what we have to do is think big, think really big. because we stand the current course we will not find the answers, we will get even more enmeshed in the problems we face today. >> thank you. we have less than 10 minutes for questions. the mics are in the corners here, if you do not mind mapping of the -- walking up to them.
>> keith wilson with the political science department here. thank you for sharing your insights today. this is an inspiring panel and i wish it could be expended -- expanded three times this length. incredible amount of complexity, but there is not far of israel. does it matter in this? does the israeli-palestinian mention matter more than we have been saying? >> turkey was the other that was not mentioned. we ve our work fo cut out for us. i had a whole another page of questions.
israel always matters to the united states, and despite the rather poisonous relations between president obama and benjamin netanyahu, there is still a doing.ot that israel is the next administration, having cleared away the personalized animosity, it is only going to increase their. israel, and they are moving into this new phase which is a huge problem and also evidence of the hopelessness that there is no horizon on which people can see the prospect of middle east peace.
that is also true of everybody in washington. you cannot fault john kerry for giving insufficient attention and having expended inefficient energy to try to bring about a peace deal between the palestinians and the israelis. putting all of that diplomatic effort, he wasat able to essentially walk away with nothing. i do not think the next initiation will touch it with a 10 foot pole. i think the next ministration will not be able to avoid it -- administration will be able to avoid it. degree, over the last five years, there has been a relative anchor of stability in an area upheaval. the u.s. has given a time of support and will continue to do so. the stability of that has
existed, even though there is an unresolved conflict. but that has been a function of two things. even those process was not productive, it was a framework everybody was signed up to. very effective security cooperation between the palestinian authorities and the israeli government. in that framework, it is exhausting. and the end of the john kerry effort was the end of the process. we do not have anything to replace it with. and the security cooperation is also under threat not only because of this despair and frustration of palestinians that we see today, but also because palestine is not immune to the challenges in the rest of the region. there is a generational gap and a cap between palestinians and their own leadership.
if we cannot address issues in the domestic politics we will not be able to work on the conflict effectively, and i think trying to address these conflicts, having an effort, is important for regional stability and will be important for the next residence. >> we have time for one question. yes sir? >> thank you very much for talking to us. my question is -- my name is daniel lopez, i have a student -- am a student. it was mentioned that military, civilian and democratic support has declined from americans to the middle east. i was wondering, what is your input on how much of that is connected to support of, from
the average american? you have spoken from this new ones, but we tend to talk bubble players as the country's names and we talk about america, iraq, saudi arabia. they have hundreds of millions of people. are we missing an opportunity to create a more human level of concern that could connect people from the middle east to try to solve these issues instead of go to the american inter-american and say these are diplomatic issues? are we missing the opportunity by confining open global players into single entities? since i read that point about declining eight, with respect to a rock, i think there is a relative underinvestment. ms. wittes: there are a couple reasons for that. it is in our domestic. that we have to look at.
two thirds of the majority judges the wars in iraq and afghanistan as a failure. president obama twice on a platform of ending wars in the middle east. that degree of public support is something that all politicians are conscious of. that does not mean that they cannot work to shape public opinion, that will leader -- that is what leadership is. they have a reality they will have to confront. there is no one in the united states, except for those in washington, pushing obama to do more in syria. a lot of people pushing him to do less. the other domestic component the plays a lot is dysfunction of our system in washington, particularly as it affects our operation process and the congressional executive relationship on foreign policy. when the air uprising happens,
there were challenges and opportunities. the first thing we had to do , andscramble for funding the same time we were not sure if the federal government was going to shut down because we justot have creations imagine trying to have a grand strategy that would be persisted in dealing with intractable problems we do not know if we will have an office next. congress andd to proposal for $770 million in funding to support governance, to support student transitions in the middle east. in congress did not even past the foreign aid appropriation that year. dysfunction does carry a price for us in our ability to act in the world. >> excellence. thank you. on that note i would like you to thin join me in thanking the
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