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  • Author: Danielle Pletka, Frederick W. Kagan, J. Matthew McInnis
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: A review of the soft-power strategies of both the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Middle East and Afghanistan makes clear a disturbing fact: Tehran has a coherent, if sometimes ineffective strategy to advance its aims in the Middle East and around the world. The United States does not. This project began with two tour d'horizon reviews of Iranian activities throughout areas Iran has, by its actions, defined as its sphere of influence. From the Persian Gulf through the Levant and into neighboring Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic has consistently invested in soft- and hard-power activities designed not only to extend its own influence but also to limit both American and hostile Arab aims. And while the latter part of the Ahmadinejad administration saw waning rewards for Tehran's efforts-a result more of the growing Sunni-Shia divide in the Middle East than of changes in strategy-the continued existence of a coherent Iranian strategy to dominate or destabilize the region should not be ignored. This report, the culmination of a process of both examining Iranian actions and surveying American policy, policy responses, and soft-power strategies in the region, focuses on the US side of the equation. Despite the Obama administration's commitment to replace hard power with smart power, what the United States pursues in the Middle East is a set of incoherent, ineffective, and increasingly irrelevant policies.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Defense Policy, Islam, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Iran, Central Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 01-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Since Azerbaijan regained its independence in 1991, it has been only the world's second Shi'ite-led state after Iran. Azerbaijan respects separation of mosque and state, and despite pressure from its neighbors, remains independent from political domination. Given its strategic importance, safeguarding the country's independence remains a US priority. And the threat from Iranian meddling is particularly acute. From Tehran's perspective, the combination of Azerbaijan's pre-19th-century Iranian past, modern Azerbaijan's embrace of secularism, and its relative economic success challenge Iran's legitimacy. As Iranian authorities have sought to undermine and destabilize Azerbaijan through political, clerical, charitable, and media channels, Azerbaijan's counterstrategy has been both restrained and effective.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Islam, Sovereignty, Governance
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Danielle Pletka
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: On April 8, Iran announced that it was expanding its plans to enrich uranium, despite demands from the United Nations (UN) Security Council that it halt the program. Iran will start installing six thousand more centrifuges in addition to its three thousand existing ones. In testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, AEI vice president Danielle Pletka reviewed recent U.S. and UN policy toward Iran; examined the evidence on sanctions, arguing that they are taking a toll on Iran's economy; and looked at what other options we now have for dealing with Iran.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Nuclear Weapons, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The name Fethullah Gülen is virtually unknown in the United States. Self-exiled here for more than a decade, this prominent Turkish theological and political thinker is the leader of a movement estimated conservatively to have more than a million followers in Turkey. The movement controls a business empire of charities, real estate, companies, and schools. Thousands of Gülen's followers populate Turkey's bureaucracies. AEI's Michael Rubin believes that, just as many people remained clueless or belittled concerns about Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's intentions in Iran thirty years ago, many may be making the same mistake today about Gülen, who professes to want to weld Islam with tolerance and a pro-European outlook. Rubin introduces us to a man who could play a prominent role in Turkey's future at a time when Turkey's "secular order and constitutionalism have never been so shaky."
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Democratization
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: The State Department is counseling Turkey to make political concessions to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the terrorist organization that launched an attack in Turkey in October. Michael Rubin argues that this would be a mistake and urges the United States to stand by its long-time NATO ally in its fight against terrorism.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Eliot A. Cohen
  • Publication Date: 12-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: There is little realism in the report of the Iraq Study Group, a consensus group dominated by so-called foreign policy realists. It offers diplomatic pablum instead of serious discussion of what has gone wrong in Iraq. Our difficulties in Iraq are not a result of having the wrong strategy, but of failing to implement the choices we have made.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Danielle Pletka
  • Publication Date: 05-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Only economic liberalization and political freedom can quell the frustration that breeds Islamic extremism in the Middle East.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: David Frum
  • Publication Date: 02-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Radical Islamic terrorists across the Middle East have thus far claimed to represent a global Islamic nation, yet millions of Iraqis risked their lives on January 30 to reject that claim with their ballots.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Democratization, Economics
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 06-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: In reelecting George W. Bush, Americans voted to continue foreign policies often caricatured at home and abroad as militaristic, expansionist, and unilateralist. The question is why a majority of voters backed Bush in the face of these charges. Does the Bush Doctrine, which urges the transformation of the political order in the greater Middle East and the broader international order in ways that defend and promote human freedom, constitute a radical break in the practice of American statecraft? Or is the Bush administration's approach—and the general public's acceptance of it—better explained by the “strategic culture” of the United States, the precepts of which can be traced through the history of U.S. foreign policy to the founding of the republic?
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Globalization
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Middle East
  • Author: Vance Serchuk, Thomas Donnelly
  • Publication Date: 04-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: With China's declaration of an anti-secession law, Washington has received a timely if unwelcome reminder of the depth of Beijing's determination to retake Taiwan and the reality of geopolitical rivalry in East Asia. Contrary to the crisis-management mentality that too often has governed U.S. China policy, however, the anti-secession law represents an important strategic blunder by Beijing and an important opportunity for the United States—one that, if properly managed, could actually advance American interests in the region more than anything U.S. policy planners would otherwise hatch on their own. After four years in which the White House was preoccupied with more pressing problems in the greater Middle East, the Bush administration should now take advantage of its second term to align U.S. strategy for the Asia-Pacific region with the fundamental tenets of the Bush Doctrine and develop a new framework for its relations with Beijing and Taipei.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, China, America, Washington, Middle East, Taiwan, Beijing, East Asia, Taipei