We write as citizens and foreign policy veterans of two countries that most Americans presume are locked in mortal combat: Iran and Saudi Arabia. In fact, after decades of proxy conflict and frozen ties between our countries, we believe now is the time to explore a new foundation for a lasting peace in our region.
Neither of us is a starry-eyed idealist. We are both hardened realists with distrust for one another, and that mistrust is shared at the top levels of our respective governments. At the same time, we have seen the destructive consequences of crises in which our countries side with one or another government or movement involved in a competition for power — for example in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain or Iraq.… Seguir leyendo »
U.S. President Barack Obama's recent explanation of how his administration will engage with the Middle East is far from reassuring to the region.
In his interview with Tom Friedman from the New York Times on April 4, Obama explained U.S. foreign policy moves on Iran and Cuba, which Friedman described as the "Obama doctrine." He stated that "We will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities." By capabilities, the President must mean the tools, whether diplomatic, economic or military, to protect and defend U.S. interests.
The doctrine is significant because it provides greater clarity about the U.S. policy under the rest of Obama's presidency.… Seguir leyendo »
In recent decades, the six Gulf Cooperation Council states have been a pillar of stability in a dangerous neighborhood. But the political change sweeping the Middle East has left its mark, as the situations in Bahrain and Oman underscore. The other GCC nations — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar — have been affected. The Gulf monarchies must come to understand the repercussions of the “Arab Spring.”
So far, protests in GCC states have largely been limited to calls for reform from within, not for regime change. The Arab Gulf monarchies understandably enjoy a high degree of legitimacy: Ruling families have guided their populations through such tumultuous events as the discovery of oil and the subsequent economic transformation, the end of colonialism, and the advent of globalization and its social impact.… Seguir leyendo »