What to Do About I-rak and I-ran?

How New Divisions in the Middle East offer the U.S. an Opportunity to Regain Influence in the Region

Edward Luttwak, an internationally recognized authority in the area of military strategy, recently contended in testimony before the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations that, "only with the United States’ disengagement can Iraqis find their own equilibrium." He underscores the futility of trying to micromanage an Iraqi reality which lacks sustainability and merely prolongs failure. Dr. Luttwak sees disengagement, not withdrawal, as the only reasonable plan that still safeguards Iraq’s borders and doesn’t needlessly abandon Iraq to chaos.

Simultaneously Luttwak argues that despite the failure of its democratic project in Iraq, the United States has accidentally stumbled into achieving its aim of a New Middle East through divide and rule tactics. The invasion of Iraq has emboldened Iran and expanded a latent Shiite-Sunni tension into a dynamic conflict across the Middle East causing actors on both sides to seek American support and opening up new avenues for American power and diplomacy.

Luttwak is a long-standing Senior Fellow and Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, best recognized for his work and expertise on the foreign policy and military strategy front. During his dynamic career, he has served as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and the Department of State. He maintains membership with the National Security Study Group of the Department of Defense and Associate status with the Japan Finance Ministry’s Institute of Fiscal and Monetary Policy. He is also the author of numerous provocative books including Turbo-Capitalism: Winners and Losers in the Global Economy, The Endangered American Dream, Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace and the constantly reprinted Coup d’Etat: A Practical Handbook, which has been circulated in fourteen languages.

At this New America Event, Luttwak discussed his provocative contentions and then fielded audience questions in a session moderated by Steven Clemons. Video of the event is available at right, while an MP3 audio recording can be downloaded below.



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  • Edward Luttwak
    Senior Advisor, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Steven Clemons (moderator)
    Senior Fellow & Director, American Strategy Program, New America Foundation
    Publisher, www.TheWashingtonNote.com