A discussion with:

Esraa Abdel Fattah
Youth Committee Member, Al-Dostour Party

Larry Diamond
Director, Center on Democracy, Development,
and Rule of Law, Stanford University

Brian Katulis
Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Moderator: Stephen McInerney
Executive Director,
Project on Middle East Democracy

Four years ago, President Barack Obama took office amid promises of a fundamentally different approach to U.S. policy in the Middle East. In frequent public remarks, including his first inaugural address and his major June 2009 speech in Cairo, President Obama promised to “seek a new way forward” in U.S. relations with the region, based on “mutual interest and mutual respect.” Such rhetoric was initially received with enthusiasm across a region eager for real change, but soon became viewed as empty words not backed up by substantive policy shifts. Even following the historic changes that have swept the region since early 2011, the U.S. administration has responded with similarly promising rhetoric, but with few tangible changes to policy.

As President Obama embarks on his second term, it’s important to examine what concrete changes to U.S. policy are needed to fulfill the promises of President Obama’s rhetoric. How can the U.S. balance existing relationships with current governments and with those of nascent political actors? How should the U.S. view and engage with rising Islamist powers in the region? How best can the U.S. use its leverage with allies, and how should the role of U.S. aid to the region change? And what should the balance of public and private diplomacy look like?To answer these questions, POMED has gathered ideas from fifteen respected policy analysts and experts from the U.S. and from across the Middle East and North Africa and released them in a new publication, available here: pomed.org/moving-beyond-rhetoric

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