Michael Singh | September 1, 2021
Professor Bruce Jentleson joined Michael Singh to discuss Middle East strategy in the wake of the U.S.’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and in the context of great power competition.
Summary by Ruthie Kesri:
On September 1, Professor Bruce Jentleson moderated a discussion with Michael Singh, the Lane-Swig Senior Fellow and Managing Director at The Washington Institute and former senior director for Middle East Affairs at the National Security Council. During his tenure at the White House (2005-08), Mr. Singh was responsible for coordinating U.S. national security policy for the broader Middle East, with particular emphasis on Iran’s regional and nuclear activities, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syria, and security cooperation. Mr. Singh began the conversation by discussing the Biden administration’s national security policy and contextualizing how the current U.S. strategy in the Middle East is reorienting to fit into President Biden’s “Great Power” diplomacy.
Expanding on the conversation about U.S. national security goals, the discussion then shifted to the U.S.-Israel relationship, economic understandings between Washington and its partners and China, and the benefits and disadvantages of the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal). Mr. Singh emphasized where the U.S. has strategic leverage in the region, and the importance of creating reliable and sustainable relationships with partners.
During the Q&A, students posed questions about the U.S. role in supporting the Abraham Accords, how the Biden administration can assist in the normalization of relations between countries in the Middle East, Syria, and other issues of U.S. security policy. Mr. Singh discussed U.S. Middle East strategy in the context of great power competition, highlighting the need for competent conservative foreign policy and why the Biden administration is strategically shifting to security concerns over China and domestic issues.