What should be the U.S. role in the Middle East?
Question: What should be the U.S. role in the Middle East?
Ross: It’s hard. It’s hard because across the board, we’re . . . we’re facing enormous difficulties. The next president is going to be confronted with the reality that we will have at least 100,000 American forces in Iraq. How we deal with Iraq will be watched by everybody in the region. If we precipitously withdraw, certain conclusions will be drawn. If we stay in a way that continues to sort of tie us down, limit what we can do, have us in the midst of a civil war, that’s going to be perceived by everyone as, alright, well it’s not . . . the U.S. isn’t really changing course. One of the things that we have to reestablish, at least in the Middle East, is to show effectiveness. We have to somehow find a way to make it clear that we know what we’re doing. And not only do we know what we’re doing; but when we do it, it has an effect that everybody can see. So in Iraq, I think we’re gonna have to come up with an approach that, by definition, is gonna involve our disengagement and withdrawal, but in a way that makes it appear as if it’s in the service and the objectives that everyone can relate to. I would prefer to see us at a minimum have a containment approach, which suggests that we . . . what’s in Iraq stays in Iraq. The worst that’s in Iraq . . . We don’t want a convulsion in Iraq to convulse the region. By the same token, if there’s an outcome in Iraq which I believe is likely in 10 or 15 years’ time – which is to say a central government with very limited powers, provinces with very extensive autonomy, and with some sharing of the revenue – the question is how do you get there? Do you get there through a process of exhaustion where you fight out . . . there’s a brutal civil war that eventually all the parties decide enough already? Or do you get there through a managed transition? So can we engage in a disengagement that basically makes a managed transition more likely rather than less likely? Can we fall back to containment so it doesn’t consume the rest of the region? That’s the key challenge, and the question of what are the means that we have available for doing that.
We need to be effective in a way that makes it seem we are acting in everyone's best interests, Ross says.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.
- When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
- Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
- Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.
- Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
- When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
- Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.