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Long Game or Gamble? U.S. Middle East Policy from Obama to Trump


WHEN: Friday, December 16, 2016 10:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. ET

WHERE: Bipartisan Policy Center, 1225 Eye Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC, 20005

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The Middle East continues to challenge U.S. policymakers. From the rise of ISIS, to the spread of ethnosectarian violence, to dealing with Iran, the region played an outsize role in President Obama’s foreign policy and is one of the top concerns for President-elect Trump. Two recent books, the first by an outspoken critic of Obama’s foreign policy, the second by one of its most articulate defenders, examine how presidents have defined and pursued U.S. interests in the Middle East.

Michael Doran’s Ike’s Gamble retells the story of President Eisenhower’s handling of the Suez Crisis in 1956, suggesting that many of the same pitfalls encountered then still plague policymakers today. And in The Long Game, Derek Chollet describes how President Obama—seeking to model himself on Eisenhower—transformed U.S. foreign policy to overcome the obstacles of the Middle East.

BPC hosted a debate between Chollet and Doran about the lessons learned from Eisenhower and Obama about U.S. Middle East policy and how President-elect Trump might apply those lessons.


Derek Chollet
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
Counselor and Senior Adviser for Security and Defense Policy, German Marshall Fund

Dr. Michael Doran
Former Senior Director in the National Security Council
Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

Moderated by:

Nahal Toosi
Foreign Affairs Correspondent, POLITICO