As President Barack Obama entered office in 2009, his administration confronted a daunting set of challenges in the Middle East. From his first formal interview as president with the Dubai-based station Al-Arabiya to his June 4th speech in Cairo, Obama has strove for a “new beginning” in U.S. engagement with the Middle East. Yet the cornerstone of the Administration's Middle East strategy – a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – remains as elusive as ever. Moreover, Iran's nuclear program continues to proceed undeterred, increasing the potential for conflict in the region.
Financial Times editor David Gardner and foreign policy scholar Joshua Muravchik considered whether the Administration can forge a final-status Israeli-Palestinian agreement, deal constructively with Iran, foster development, and endure consequences if setbacks occur during the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Rachel Bronson, The Chicago Council's vice president of programs and studies, moderated the discussion.
David Gardner is chief leader writer and associate editor at the Financial Times. He previously served as Middle East editor and was the South Asia bureau chief at the Times. He won the David Watt prize for international journalism in 2003, and appears regularly on international TV and radio. His latest book, Last Chance: The Middle East in Balance, will be available for purchase and signing after the program.
Joshua Muravchik is a fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He also serves as adjunct scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and as an adjunct professor at the Institute of World Politics. A former resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, he previously served on the U.S. State Department's Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion. He received his Ph.D. from Georgetown University and his B.A. from the City College of New York. His latest book, The Next Founders, will be available for purchase and signing after the program.
Recorded Tuesday, September 08, 2009 at The Chicago Club.