America and the Middle East: What Lies Ahead
With American troops out of Iraq and leaving Afghanistan – what will America’s ‘strong presence’ in the region look like?


“Make no mistake, our strong presence in the Middle East endures, and the United States will never waver in defense of our allies, our partners, or our interests.”

That was President Obama this past December, announcing the end of the Iraq war.

But with the US economy lagging, and Americans focused on domestic issues, some of America's closest allies in the Middle East are worried about America's commitment to their defense.

From Iraq and Iran to Afghanistan and Pakistan, we’ll examine what America's influence and intervention in the Middle East in the past can tell us about America's involvement in the region in the future.

Throughout the hour, Ray Suarez speaks with Ken Pollack and Michael Doran about the future of American policy in the Middle East. Ken Pollack is the Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, and Michael Doran is a senior fellow also at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution.

America Abroad examines the 2008 negotiations between the US and Iraq that led to the signing of an important security agreement and laid the foundation for the future of the US-Iraq relationship.
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America Abroad traces the history of past Iranian efforts to project influence throughout the Middle East.
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Ray Suarez takes a look back at US policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 1980s and 90s, from the fight against the Soviets to American disengagement, and the dangerous instability that followed.
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Video Extra

As a foreign correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, US News and World Report, and The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour based in Paris, Edward Girardet first began covering Afghanistan several months prior to the Soviet invasion in 1979.

AAM sits down with Girardet, author of “Killing the Cranes: A Reporters Journey Through Three Decades of War in Afghanistan” to discuss his new book and share his first-hand perspective on war in Afghanistan.


Featured Experts

Michael Doran
Michael Doran is a senior fellow in the Saban Center, where he specializes in Middle East security issues. He has held several academic positions and has served as a deputy assistant secretary of defense and a senior director at the National Security Council.
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Kenneth M. Pollack
Ken Pollack, Director, Saban Center for Middle East Policy, is an expert on national security, military affairs and the Persian Gulf. He was Director for Persian Gulf affairs at the National Security Council. He also spent seven years in the CIA as a Persian Gulf military analyst.
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America and the Middle East: What Lies Ahead / Executive Producer: Aaron Lobel / AAM Producer: Monica Bushman / Intern: Andreana Lefton / Additional production assistance from Robert Frazier (Monitor Studios) and Flawn Williams / Web Producer: Javier Barrera / Photo: The U.S. Army

Host: Ray Suarez / Length: 51 minutes / Airdate: January 2012

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