Obama’s Gamble vs. Ike’s Gamble: American Influence in the Middle East

December 14, 2016
9:15 am -

Event Description

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) hosted a breakfast conversation on Wednesday, December 14, from 9:00am to 10:30am to discuss President Obama’s Iran policy with the background of Michael Doran’s new book, Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East.

Michael Doran is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute. He was joined in conversation by Suzanne Maloney, deputy director of the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution; Steve Simon, Professor of History at Amherst College; and Reuel Marc Gerecht, Senior Fellow at FDD. The conversation was moderated by FDD Founder and President Clifford D. May.

Ike’s Gamble delves into the 1956 Suez Crisis in which President Dwight D. Eisenhower made a series of strategic choices, ultimately — and unwisely — betting on Egyptian strongman and pan-Arabist Gamal Abdel Nasser. Dr. Doran draws parallels with the realities of today’s Middle East. President Obama has made controversial choices regarding the U.S. relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran. As a result, serious decisions await the next Administration regarding the conflicts between Iran and America’s traditional allies in the region.

Michael Doran is a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute. He previously served in the administration of President George W. Bush as a senior director in the National Security Council, where he was responsible for helping to devise and coordinate United States strategies on a variety of Middle East issues, including Arab-Israeli relations and U.S. efforts to contain Iran and Syria. He also served in the Bush administration as a senior advisor in the State Department and a deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Pentagon. Before coming to Hudson, Doran was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has also held teaching positions at NYU, Princeton, and the University of Central Florida. He is the author of Pan-Arabism before Nasser, which analyzes the first Arab-Israeli war as an inter-Arab conflict. His most recent book is Ike’s Gamble: America’s Rise to Dominance in the Middle East.

Reuel Marc Gerecht is a senior fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.  He focuses on Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorism, and intelligence. Gerecht is the author of The Wave: Man, God, and the Ballot Box in the Middle East (Hoover Institution Press, 2011), Know Thine Enemy: A Spy’s Journey into Revolutionary Iran (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997) and The Islamic Paradox: Shiite Clerics, Sunni Fundamentalists, and the Coming of Arab Democracy (AEI Press, 2004). He is a contributing editor for The Weekly Standard and has been a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, as well as a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and other publications. He was previously a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the director of the Middle East Initiative at the Project for the New American Century. He also served as a Middle Eastern specialist at the CIA’s Directorate of Operations.

Suzanne Maloney is deputy director of the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution and a senior fellow in the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy and the Energy Security and Climate Initiative, where her research focuses on Iran and Persian Gulf energy. She is the editor of Markaz, a blog on politics in and policy toward the Middle East published by the Brookings Institution. Her books include the 2008 monograph Iran’s Long Reach (United States Institute of Peace, 2008) as well as Iran’s Political Economy since the Revolution, published in August 2015 by Cambridge University Press. Maloney previously served as an external advisor to senior State Department officials on long-term issues related to Iran. Before joining Brookings, she served on the Secretary of State’s policy planning staff; as Middle East advisor for ExxonMobil Corporation; and director of the 2004 Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on U.S. policy toward Iran.

Clifford D. May is the Founder and President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. In August 2016, Mr. May was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). He has had a long and distinguished career in international relations, journalism, communications and politics. A veteran foreign correspondent and editor (at The New York Times and other publications), he has covered stories around the world, including from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Turkey, Sudan, Ethiopia, China, Northern Ireland, Nigeria, Mexico and Russia.

Steve Simon is the John J. McCloy 2016 Visiting Professor of History at Amherst College. He previously served as the National Security Council’s Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa from 2011 through 2012. He applied his extensive expertise on national security and terrorism as executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS-US) and corresponding director of IISS-Middle East. He was previously a Hasib J. Sabbagh senior fellow in Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and an adjunct professor of security studies at Georgetown University.