News / Middle East

Author Advocates US-Iranian Alliance

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement to members of the foreign press in Jerusalem insisting that Iran will not stop its nuclear program unless economic sanctions are backed with a 'credible military option,' Jan. 11, 2011
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement to members of the foreign press in Jerusalem insisting that Iran will not stop its nuclear program unless economic sanctions are backed with a 'credible military option,' Jan. 11, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Henry Ridgwell

With the ongoing war in Afghanistan and a diplomatic tussle with Iran over its nuclear program, the Middle East remains at the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda. A new book claims America is making the wrong friends in the region - and calls for a radical rethinking of policy towards the Middle East.



In his new book Reset the Middle East, former New York Times foreign correspondent Stephen Kinzer argues for a bold realignment of the West’s links in the region.

In a speech at London analyst group Chatham House, Kinzer explained his reasoning.

“We are following policies that were made to address the Cold War in the Middle East," said Kinzer. "The strategic environment in the Middle East has changed tremendously since then, but our policies have not changed.”

Kinzer’s central premise is that the U.S. is making the wrong friends - and the wrong enemies in the Middle East. He said two criteria should determine who should be America’s allies: the characteristics of the society, and the country’s long-term strategic goals. With those in mind, he said Turkey stands out as a natural partner.

“Turkey has this vibrant capitalist economy," said Kinzer. "A thriving democracy - not without problems, but certainly in a relative sense, quite an attractive one. And in addition, Turkey’s long term strategic goals parallel ours.”

But it is Kinzer’s assessment of Iran that will cause the most surprise. Tehran and the West are currently locked in a diplomatic fight over Iran’s nuclear program. Kinzer said ignore the rhetoric - the Iranians should be America’s closest allies.

“Iran is the militant enemy of militant radical groups like the Taliban and al Qaida," said Kinzer. "Secondly, Iran has a huge ability to help stabilize Iraq. Iran also has tremendous ability to project influence in Afghanistan, which is the huge strategic challenge certainly facing the United States and I’d argue also the whole West.”

Rosemary Hollis, an expert on the Middle East at City University London, was among the audience listening to Kinzer’s speech. She said he failed to address the central source of tension in the Middle East - the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“He thought the most productive line for the United States to take would be to completely restructure the relationship with Iran and hope that that would change other things in the region," said Hollis. "He has some big ideas, they are useful to get people thinking, but it’s not a blueprint for how to proceed.”

With the Israeli-Palestinian peace process seemingly deadlocked, Kinzer’s book will certainly provoke debate over how the West should engage with the Middle East - and what the future might hold for the region.

NEW: Follow our Middle East stories on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid