America faces a veritable conundrum in the Middle East. It is trapped in a region it can neither leave nor transform. To deal with this situation, the U.S. must be disciplined about identifying its core interests and how best to protect them. Of the three key issues facing America--Iran's search for a nuclear weapons capacity, what to do about Syria and the Arab spring, and the Israeli-Palestinian problem, it must focus not on transformative solutions but on transactional outcomes. Finding the balance between doing too much on one hand and not enough on the other, remains its core challenge.
Aaron David Miller, Vice President for New Initiatives and Distinguished Scholar, Middle East Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Photos courtesy of Namisha Bansal.