Contain, Degrade, and Defeat

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 believed U.S. involvement in the region 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. The United States must contend with two intertwined challenges in the region: Iranian aspirations for mastery in the Middle East and the Muslim world and often related violent jihadist terrorism. Both threaten the security of the broader Middle East and the U.S. homeland.

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