In a period of about six weeks spanning August and September 2014, President Obama dramatically revamped his Middle East policy to put degrading and destroying the Islamic State (ISIS) at its center. Overruling his own decision in 2012 not to overtly arm and train the Syrian moderate opposition with lethal weapons, he pushed through Congress an authorization to do so. Why this change in a president who has a checkered record in his willingness to use force?

On October 1, 2014, a group of MEI scholars met to discuss the issue of Obama’s legacy regarding Middle East policy, with a focus on this recent change and prospects for his final two years in office. The papers in this series review the current state of play in regard to their respective topics, describe the likely drivers and dynamics, point out opportunities and pitfalls, and offer conclusions. The titular article, written by MEI scholar and retired diplomat Allen Keiswetter, serves as the capstone paper for the series.

Articles in this Series


Media Inquires:
Scott Zuke
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