U.S. Power and Influence in the Middle East: Part One

In seven episodes, the Babel: U.S. Power and Influence in the Middle East podcast miniseries will take a closer look at two decades of heightened U.S. engagement in the region. Jon Alterman, senior vice president, Zbigniew Brzezinski chair in global security and geostrategy, and director of the Middle East Program, sits down with some of the preeminent foreign policy experts and former policymakers who have helped shape U.S. policy in the region. Over the next seven weeks, Babel will cover how the United States has used its military, economic, diplomatic, and soft power tools in the Middle East—and how the Middle East has responded.  

In this first episode, Jon explores how the United States became more deeply enmeshed in the Middle East, how its role in the region has changed, and how some people think it needs to change a lot more. He talks with Ambassador Anne Patterson, a career diplomat with more than 40 years of experience in the Middle East and around the globe, most recently as assistant secretary of state for the Near East and North Africa from 2013 to 2017; Andrew Bacevich, a retired army officer, former West Point professor, and the president of the Quincy Institute; and Karim Makdisi, a professor of international relations at the American University of Beirut. 

Anne Patterson, "We Have to Be There," The Foreign Service Journal, September 2019. 
Karim Makdisi, "Teaching Trump's America First in/from Beirut," Political Science and Politics (vol 53:2), April 2020. 
Andrew Bachevich, America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History. Random House, 2016. 
Transcript, "U.S. Power and Influence in the Middle East: Part One," CSIS, March 8, 2022.
Jon B. Alterman
Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Director, Middle East Program