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Intelligence Squared

Monday, February 8 at 2:00 pm

Did America Get the Middle East Right?

Joe Biden’s approach to the Middle East will likely be very different than Donald Trump’s. But should it be?  For some, the Trump legacy was the right approach: A transactional style that resulted in a host of political and diplomatic victories, including normalizing relations between Israel and several Arab states. It was also selectively aggressively when it came to the death of the leader of the Islamic State or sanctions against Iran that, some say, blunted Tehran’s ambitions and reduced its power in the region. But others, including many prominent members of Biden's transition team, see the last four years as a failure of strategy and leadership. They argue that Trump's personalized approach to the Middle East eroded America's moral agency and gave cover to authoritarian leaders. To them, Trump’s stance on Iran emboldened hardliners, while its staunch support for Israeli interests isolated American allies and undermined the Palestinians. So, as the Biden team gets going, we debate whether Trump got the Middle East right.

Mary Beth Long
Fmr. Assistant Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs
Mary Beth Long is an attorney, political advisor, and former government official. She was the first woman to be confirmed by the Senate as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and spent more than a decade as a CIA officer. She has also served as a senior advisor to the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and chaired NATO's High-Level Group responsible for nuclear policy. Long is the founder of M B Long & Associates.

Danny Danon
Israel's 17th Permanent Representative, United Nations & Chairman, World Likud
Danon was Israel’s 17th Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and is the nation’s former Deputy Minister of Defense. He is currently Chairman of the World Likud, a global organization dedicated to combating anti-Semitism and conducting pro-Israel advocacy activities.

Dr. Justine A. Rosenthal
Former Editor-in-Chief, The National Interest & Executive Editor, Newsweek Magazine
Rosenthal served as Director of the Council on Global Terrorism and is a former Director at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Brookings Research Fellow and Special Assistant to former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Her areas of expertise include international terrorism, counter-terrorism strategies, nuclear proliferation, civil warfare and East Asian security. She recently produced several international current-affairs documentaries for National Geographic and the Emmy-nominated HBO film, entitled “Only the Dead See the End of War.”

Michael Ware
Fmr. Time Magazine Baghdad Bureau Chief & CNN Correspondent
Ware is a journalist and documentary filmmaker. He served as Time Baghdad bureau chief before moving to CNN. There, Ware was foreign correspondent, reporting from across the region. He was one of the few Western journalists to live full-time in Iraq during the war, having embedded with U.S. forces, insurgents and terrorists. He is the writer/director of the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary “Only the Dead See the End of War.”

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