Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts The Post 9/11 Middle East from a Foreign Policy Perspective

The Post 9/11 Middle East from a Foreign Policy Perspective

The Post-911 Middle East

Much has been said about a perceived steady decline of U.S. influence in the Middle East, and American weakness in the world more generally. Though there is some truth to the assertion that the United States’ ability to project power and assert influence in the Middle East has waned since it first sent occupying forces to the region in response to the attacks of 9/11, this does not necessarily equate to a black-and-white dichotomy of former might and current powerlessness. America’s activities in Iraq in particular have led to some second and third order consequences that it will be dealing with for some time. While the empowerment of Iran is likely the most dominant negative consequence to emerge from America’s activist foray into the region, the galvanizing of a strong pro-Western geopolitical alliance bloc poised to confront Iran and other subversive actors in the region is surely its most positive consequence. As this article will demonstrate, the ability of the United States to capitalize on opportunities created by the latter development have improved its strategic position in the region, and its maneuverability within it beyond what many have acknowledged. Read more…

*Below is an interactive infographic created by the author on the same subject. All the elements in the interactive infographic containing a transparent, colored shadow are clickable and lead to other slides. The top title banner is also clickable. The “Home” arrow on the top left of each slide returns you to the main infographic. This infographic was produced with the assistance of Edyt Dickstein, Summer 2015 Research Intern in FPRI’s Program on the Middle East.

*** Author’s note: For those who have expressed interest, the two camps depicted in the infographic and referenced in the article, represent a loosely defined group of actors that coalesced around a number of shared threats and shared strategic interests. The so-called Stabilizers camp favored regional stability and the status quo. The “resistance camp” or Destabilizers worked against the status quo during in the post-9/11 period using violent and or subversive means. In short, they are group in this manner for their regional outlook, not the role they actually played. For more on this, read the article and click through the interactive infographic.