Equality and American Democracy
Why Politics Trumps Economics
Fight or Flight
America’s Choice in the Middle East
Russia's Perpetual Geopolitics
Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern
Making America Great Again
The Case for the Mixed Economy
The End of the Old Israel
How Netanyahu Has Transformed the Nation
The Case for Offshore Balancing
A Superior U.S. Grand Strategy
The Truth About Trade
What Critics Get Wrong About the Global Economy
France’s Next Revolution?
A Conversation With Marine Le Pen
Populism on the March
Why the West Is in Trouble
Populism Is Not Fascism
But It Could Be a Harbinger
Wealthier World, Poorer Nation
The Problem With the Rise of the Rest
Lone Wolves No More
How ISIS' European Cells Really Operate
Watching American Democracy in China
Liberals and Conservatives After Trump
The Apocalypse in U.S. Political Thought
Trump Isn't the First—And He Won't be the Last
America's Misguided LGBT Policy
How the United States Hurts Those It Tries to Help
The Future Lies With Urbanization
The New Dictators
Why Personalism Rules
A Westphalian Peace for the Middle East
Why an Old Framework Could Work
A Tale of Two Statues
Putin, Stalin, and Russia's Bloody Past
Why Trump’s Victory Was 30 Years in the Making and Why It Won’t Stop Here
The modern Middle East has rarely been tranquil, but it has never been this bad. Full-blown civil wars rage in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Nascent conflicts simmer in Egypt, South Sudan, and Turkey. Various forms of spillover from these civil wars threaten the stability of Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia. Tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia have risen to new heights, raising the specter of a regionwide religious war. Israel and the Palestinians have experienced a resurgence of low-level violence. Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates have weathered the storm so far, but even they are terrified of what is going on around them. Not since the Mongol invasions of the thirteenth century has the Middle East seen so much chaos.
Moreover, it is unlikely to abate anytime soon. No matter how many times Americans insist that the people of the Middle East will come to their senses and resolve their differences if left to their own devices, they never do. Absent external involvement, the region’s leaders consistently opt for strategies that exacerbate conflict and feed perpetual instability. Civil wars are particularly stubborn problems, and without decisive outside intervention, they usually last decades. The Congolese civil war is entering its 22nd year, the Peruvian its 36th, and the Afghan its 37th. There is no reason to expect the Middle East’s conflicts to burn out on their own either.
Even as the Middle East careens out of control, help is not on the way.
As a consequence, the next U.S. president is going to face a choice in the Middle East: do much more to stabilize it, or disengage from it much more. But given how tempestuous the region has become, both options—stepping up and stepping back—will cost the United States far more than is typically imagined. Stabilizing the region would almost certainly require more resources, energy, attention, and political capital than most advocates of a forward-leaning U.S. posture recognize.
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