Bilahari Kausikan: The Middle East in a Multipolar World

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This week on Babel, Jon speaks with Bilahari Kausikan, a Singaporean diplomat with a 37-year career in Singapore's ministry of foreign affairs, serving most recently as Ambassador-at-Large. In his conversation with Jon, Dr. Kausikan suggests that U.S.-China competition may not be as binary as it may seem, explores the ways in which a complex international system gives regional states greater agency on the world stage, examines how U.S. engagement with the Middle East is changing as priorities shift to Asia, and proposes what lessons the Middle East can take from similar shifts in U.S. policy in Southeast Asia post-Vietnam. Then, Jon continues the conversation with Will Todman and Caleb Harper, discussing how states in the region are balancing efforts to be seen as more independent global actors with their existing relations with the United States.

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Jon B. Alterman
Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Director, Middle East Program
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Caleb Harper
Program Coordinator and Research Assistant, Middle East Program