Ryan Crocker, Former Career Ambassador, US Foreign Service; Danielle Pletka, Senior Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute
Concerns over Iran’s increasing influence in the Middle East have placed high on the US foreign policy agenda. The alliance with Saudi Arabia, withdrawing from the JCPOA, and recent decision to retain over 2,000 troops in Syria, reflect Washington’s wider effort to contain Tehran. Yet, foreign policy experts warn that America’s new strategy may be missing the bigger picture, namely the changing geopolitical dynamics in the Middle East. New power shifts, such as Turkey’s pivot toward Iran and Russia, and Putin’s increasing role as a mediator in Syria, could weaken America’s influence in the region. How effective is the United States’ current strategy in the Middle East? And how would America’s further disengagement from that part of the world impact its reputation as a global leader?