New Report: Recommendations on US Policy Toward the Middle East


The Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) last week issued a new report full of recommendations on ways that President Obama could adjust his Middle East policy in his second term. In “Moving Beyond Rhetoric,” POMED collected the succinct and varied suggestions of 15 ideologically diverse MENA experts which, when taken together, offer a vision of a more bold, engaged, and robust approach to the region. POMED Executive Director Stephen McInerney summarized the report’s common conclusions as three central take-aways:

Take Bold Steps: Avoid the timidity, caution, and “tinkering around the margins” that have thus far characterized the U.S. response to dramatic and historic changes.  Take assertive steps to help influence the outcomes of transitions at this critical moment.

Engage More Broadly: Reverse the longstanding tendency of relying primarily on narrow, government-to-government relationships.  Strengthen relationships with a diverse set of actors across the region—not just the new faces in power.

Use Leverage and Incentives: Demonstrate a willingness to use leverage and offer concrete incentives to positively influence the actions of key actors in the region, including U.S. allies.  Don’t just declare a desire or an expectation that governments will take constructive steps—clearly identify rewards and consequences to encourage such actions.

The full report is available for download on their website, and it’s a must-read for anyone interested in the near-term future of US policy in the region.