Essential Middle East Truths

(RealClearWorld) Aaron David Miller - The U.S. has made many mistakes in the Middle East, but the lion's share of the responsibility for the state of the broken, angry, and dysfunctional Middle East lies with the locals themselves. There's a reason this region seems impervious to positive, progressive change. The elements required to catalyze that change do not presently exist. Unless the U.S. plans to go it alone in a region where it has vital interests, enormous challenges, and a lot of enemies, it's going to have to make do with the friends that it has - think of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israel. The odds of pushing these imperfect partners to see things the American way on issues that are dear to them are pretty slim. No matter how hard we insist, they have more at stake on these issues than we do. Good luck trying to impose a deal with the Palestinians on the Israelis, or telling the Egyptians or Saudis to democratize. Why the U.S. thinks it can impose its dreams and schemes on small tribes, where other great powers have failed, is not entirely clear. We cannot end Syria's civil war or put Iraq back together. We cannot bring democracy to the Arab world, nor solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem. The writer, a vice president at the Woodrow Wilson Center, served as a Middle East negotiator.

2016-05-18 00:00:00

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