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

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. Over 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 part two, Jon traces the story of the last two decades of heavy U.S. military involvement in the Middle East, identifying how it’s changed the U.S. military and the way that the United States engages in the region. He speaks with Gen. Joseph Votel, a career army officer with over 40 years of service, most recently as commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) from 2016 to 2019; Eliot Cohen, the Arleigh A. Burke chair in strategy at CSIS who served as counselor for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the height of the surge in Iraq; and Kori Schake, a member of the National Security Council during President Bush’s first term and the deputy director of policy planning at the State Department in his second term.

"Kori Schake, Jim Mattis, Jim Ellis, and Joe Felter, “Defense in Depth: Why U.S. Security Depends on Alliances—Now More Than Ever,” Foreign Affairs, November 23, 2020. 
Joseph Votel, "Between Then and Now, They Did Not Die in Vain," Defense One, September 9, 2021.
Eliot Cohen, The Big Stick: The Limits of Soft Power and the Necessity of Military Force (New York: Basic Books, 2016).  
Transcript, "U.S. Power and Influence in the Middle East: Part Two," CSIS, March 15, 2022.
Jon B. Alterman
Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Director, Middle East Program