America’s Role in a Changing Middle East


The wave of protests and violence that swept the Middle East—and the varying reactions of the its governments—have dramatically affected the region. While U.S. policy may have contributed to some of these developments over a period of decades, U.S. leaders have struggled to manage them even as other external actors have become increasingly involved in the Middle East, including China, Russia, and the European Union and some of its individual members as well as nearby states like Turkey and Iran. Looking ahead, what should the United States expect in regional politics, sectarian rivalries, and prospects for political change? What role can America play? And to what extent are Washington’s past experiences still relevant in the twenty-first century?

Two leading experts discussed these and other questions.

– Steven A. Cook, Eni Enrico Mattei Senior Fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, an expert on Arab and Turkish politics and author of the new book False Dawn: Protest, Democracy, and Violence in the New Middle East, and,
– Paul R. Pillar, a former National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia, a Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University, and a Contributing Editor to The National Interest.

The Center for the National Interest’s Senior Director of Regional Security Programs, Geoffrey Kemp, will moderate.