Aaron David Miller

Middle East Meltdown

In a region now crowded with failed states, a murderous terrorist group has gained a foothold, changing the power dynamics and the United States needs to pay attention.

Go ahead: blame the rise of the Islamic State (IS) on George W. Bush's unwise entry into Iraq in 2003 and Barack Obama's early exit, if you like. You could even add to that charge the current administration's willful aversion to militarizing the U.S. role in Syria, either by not supporting the centrist opposition or by not doing enough to weaken the Assad regime. Sprinkle in a bit of Obama's "red line" on chemical weapons turning pink for good measure.

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It's Not Washington's Fault

Not only is it wrong to blame the Islamic State's rise on the U.S. failure to secure a two-state solution -- it's also flat-out dangerous.

In any conversation about the Israeli-Palestinian problem, I'd be the first to concede that failure to resolve it damages U.S. interests in the Middle East and undermines American credibility.

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We Have Reached Peak President

Why the time of great American leadership is over.

A couple years back, I gave a talk to a group of Princeton graduate students and faculty on the indispensable role leaders play in successful Arab-Israeli negotiations. Having worked on the Middle East peace process for over 20 years, I had come to the conclusion that, far more than any other factor, it was willful leaders -- masters, not prisoners, of their political houses -- who produced the agreements that endure.

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The Nation-Building Trap

When it comes to destroying the Islamic State in Syria, boots on the ground should be the least of our worries.

The more I think through the Obama administration's strategy on Syria the more worried I get. I feel like the guy in the Kingston Trio's classic tune "A Worried Man."

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Americanasaurus and the March to War in Syria

The 6 fictions we have to stop telling ourselves about Obama, the Islamic State, and what the United States can and can't do to save Iraq and Syria.

George Kennan once compared democracy (a.k.a America?) to a large, lumbering prehistoric animal. "But I sometimes wonder whether in this respect a democracy is not uncomfortably similar to one of those prehistoric monsters with a body as long as this room and a brain the size of a pin: he lies there in his comfortable primeval mud and pays little attention to his environment; he is slow to wrath -- in fact, you practically have to whack his tail off to make him aware that his interests are being disturbed; but, once he grasps this, he lays about him with such blind determination that he not only destroys his adversary but largely wrecks his native habitat."

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