March 22, 2023

Jonathan Lord on How America and the Middle East Continue to Look Past Each Other

The American-led invasion of Iraq, which took place 20 years ago this week, set in motion a series of commitments to the Middle East, which have shaped the limits and tempered the expectations of American policy in the region and beyond. The 2003 invasion, a tactical success, gave way to a second act that laid bare how unprepared the United States was to win the peace. It managed the problem, which grew increasingly intractable, through a series of uninformed (or misinformed) decisions, the way it always has: by throwing resources at the problem.

The new “Biden doctrine” requires something more costly than American military presence in order to succeed in the Middle East: sustained political and policy commitment from America’s leaders.

Burdened by this history, and facing the need to reshape foreign policy in the light of challenges posed by China’s increased engagement in the region and the raw aggression of Russia, the Biden administration has a new vision for policy in the Middle East. However, it contains glaring omissions and fails to address key obstacles to its possible success.

Read the full article and more from The Economist.

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia