Events

Panel Discussion—Contain, Degrade, and Defeat: A Defense Strategy for a Troubled Middle East

CSBA reports to be released: 

Contain, Degrade, and Defeat: A Defense Strategy for a Troubled Middle East

By Eric Edelman and Whitney Morgan McNamara

The decade and a half the United States has spent fighting the "long war" in the Middle East has yielded many tactical successes but left a lasting victory elusive. The inconclusive nature of these struggles has sapped support for the U.S. policy of shouldering the burden of providing security and stability in the region. Although many believe U.S. involvement in the region has resulted in more violence, disorder, and radicalization of local Arab populations, the current situation in the Middle East illustrates that inaction has been highly destabilizing.

In this new CSBA report, Eric Edelman and Whitney McNamara expand upon the histories, cultures, and foreign policies that have brought the United States to its current juncture in the Middle East. 

Despite the growing importance of different regional theaters in which the United States must operate, it seems almost certain that the dual challenges of Iran's regional rise and the persistent threat of violent jihadists will continue to demand the time, attention, and resources of national security decision-makers. The Middle East presents an enormous set of difficulties for policymakers against a backdrop of long-lived conflict and turmoil that is likely to persist for a generation - or perhaps longer. The United States has historically been successful in accomplishing its strategic objectives in the region, and it can be again if it develops a clear strategy that aligns ways, means, and ends and builds up capable partners in the region to contain Iran's ambitions and defeat violent jihadists. Without such a strategy both both challenges will otherwise threaten the governments of America and its partners.

 

After ISIS: U.S. Politico-Military Strategy in theGlobal War on Terror

By Hal Brands and Peter Feaver

Sooner or later, and probably within the next few months, the United States and its coalition partners will defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militarily, by collapsing its control of key areas in Iraq and Syria. That operational victory, however, will not necessarily prevent remnants of ISIS from reforming at a later date, nor will it bring a larger strategic triumph in the global war on terror. As long as large parts of the greater Middle East remain founts of ideological extremism, the United States will continue to confront a dangerous challenge from jihadist terrorism.

In this report, Hal Brands and Peter Feaver assess America's strategic options after ISIS by examining four politico-military strategies for counter-terrorism. They conclude that an enhanced version of the approach that the Obama administration took to defeating ISIS represents the best strategy for waging a dangerous conflict that is likely to endure for many years.

Speakers
  • Tom Mahnken, President and CEO
  • Eric Edelman, Counselor
  • Hal Brands, Senior Fellow
  • Whitney Morgan McNamara, Analyst