As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relations senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the senior vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.
Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011) and “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2012). Her most recent study, “America vs. Iran: The competition for the future of the Middle East,” was published in January 2014.
President Obama has so far ordered some 1,100 troops into Iraq and conducted close to 100 airstrikes. These limited tactical measures alone will neither permanently reverse ISIS gains nor address the maelstrom in the Middle East. A combined political, economic and military strategy is needed.
There’s always been appeal in slogans; Madison Avenue bets the bank on that every year. But they’re not much of a guide when it comes to foreign policy. And inevitably, what sounds good one year doesn’t work that well the next. Consider General Powell’s “Pottery Barn Rule”, a poor excuse for a pseudo-policy in an arena where standards are remarkably low already.
Calming the maelstrom in the Middle East is the project of decades, maybe centuries. It is not our project alone, but we have interests, both moral and security. The United States needs to reengage, and fight for the principles that animate us. No, not with boots on the ground for God’s sake, but with consistent and principled vision.
The press is reporting that Israel accepted the terms of an Egyptian offered ceasefire on Tuesday morning, and that Hamas rejected it. The terms of the truce required rocket fire to cease at 9 am Israeli time; Hamas launched several dozen rockets over the course of the morning, though fewer than in recent days.