Aaron David Miller

The Consequences of Misunderstanding the Middle East

The Obama administration is conducting a "policy review" on what to do about Syria and Iraq. But rehashing the same strategy could just make a bad situation even worse.

What's worse for the United States -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or the Islamic State (IS)? Even before the reports this week of the beheading of a third American, Peter Kassig, my money was on IS. But recent reports suggest that there are some in the administration who may think otherwise, and a recent policy review is allegedly pushing the view that to really get at IS you need to fundamentally weaken Assad.

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Would Hillary Be Good for the Holy Land?

The 2016 Democratic prospect isn't Bill 2.0, but if anyone could work miracles on the fraught U.S.-Israeli relationship, it might be her.

Would Hillary Clinton be good for the Jews? The recent "chickenshit" episode between Israel and the United States started me thinking about the WWHD issue -- or more specifically: What Would Hillary Do with the U.S.-Israeli relationship, and Netanyahu in particular, if she were to become president in 2016?

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Middle East Meltdown

In a region now crowded with failed states, a murderous terrorist group has gained a foothold, changing the power dynamics and the United States needs to pay attention.

Go ahead: blame the rise of the Islamic State (IS) on George W. Bush's unwise entry into Iraq in 2003 and Barack Obama's early exit, if you like. You could even add to that charge the current administration's willful aversion to militarizing the U.S. role in Syria, either by not supporting the centrist opposition or by not doing enough to weaken the Assad regime. Sprinkle in a bit of Obama's "red line" on chemical weapons turning pink for good measure.

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It's Not Washington's Fault

Not only is it wrong to blame the Islamic State's rise on the U.S. failure to secure a two-state solution -- it's also flat-out dangerous.

In any conversation about the Israeli-Palestinian problem, I'd be the first to concede that failure to resolve it damages U.S. interests in the Middle East and undermines American credibility.

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We Have Reached Peak President

Why the time of great American leadership is over.

A couple years back, I gave a talk to a group of Princeton graduate students and faculty on the indispensable role leaders play in successful Arab-Israeli negotiations. Having worked on the Middle East peace process for over 20 years, I had come to the conclusion that, far more than any other factor, it was willful leaders -- masters, not prisoners, of their political houses -- who produced the agreements that endure.

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