October 4, 2018

#AskIvo: US Retreat from the Middle East?

This week, Leore Ben-Chorin @lbenchorin asks: "How will the United States’ retreat from the Middle East impact the region in the short- and long-term? How will it affect the Syrian civil war?" See Ivo's response in the newest installment of #AskIvo. Be sure submit your question for the next episode to @IvoHDaalder using #AskIvo.

#AskIvo: US Retreat from the Middle East?

Transcript:

This is Ask Ivo, a new series where you get to ask me any question about global issues of concern to you. Leore asks: "How will the US retreat from the Middle East affect the region in the short- and in the long-term, and what impact will it have on the Syrian civil war?

That's a great question, Leore, but first, let's be clear about what the American retreat from the Middle East really is, because in some ways, under President Trump, the United States has recommitted itself in support of its allies and friends in Israel, in the Gulf, and to strengthen the opposition that the US has with those countries against Iran. But in other ways, of course, the United States' involvement in the Middle East is far less than it used to be.

Not that long ago, we had 160,000 troops in Iraq; We were threatening to go to war against Syria; And, of course, we were always strongly supportive of our friends Israel and Egypt. And that's gone down, in part, because in Iraq, there no longer is the kind of civil war that we've seen before, and in Syria, we've only been really focused on the Islamic State, and not on rebuilding Syria as a viable society.

To that extent, Russia has gained more control and more interest in what's going on in the region, and other countries are starting to say, "Who else can we turn and work with in order to solve our problems?

Thanks for tuning in! Want to ask me a question? Shoot me a tweet with the #AskIvo.

About

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. We convene leading global voices and conduct independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs is an independent, nonpartisan organization. All statements of fact and expressions of opinion in blog posts are the sole responsibility of the individual author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Council.

Archive


| By Victoria Williams

Top 8 Most Watched Programs in 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, we invite you to look back at the most watched Council programs of 2018.


| By Brian Hanson, Gregory Johnsen

Deep Dish: The War in Yemen

The war in Yemen has created one of the greatest unseen humanitarian tragedies in the world. It finally drew public attention after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, which triggered a debate about US involvement in the war.



| By Ivo H. Daalder

This Week's Reads: Russia's Crimea Campaign Enters the Kerch Strait

A recent incident between Russia and Ukraine in the Kerch Strait may seem minor, but the stakes are real. If this action by Russia goes unpunished, it could pave the way for Russia to take more territory in eastern Ukraine to establish a land-bridge between Russia and Crimea, which President Vladimir Putin illegally annexed in 2014.


| By Iain Whitaker

Podium Notes: 20 Eye-Opening Stats From the Council's 2018 Programs

Trade wars, false missile warnings, "babble fish earbuds", and Germany's World Cup whimper: 2018 was a year that sometimes defined description, at least in words. But the numbers tell a story of their own, so here's a smattering of startling stats mentioned on the Council's stage in 2018. To view the full clip, click on the numbers! (These figures were stated by guest speakers and have not been verified by the Council)




| By Iain Whitaker

Podium Notes: Happy Birthday Illinois

Illinois has had an outsize influence on the world, and on the occasion of the bicentennial it seems worthy of a recap.



| By Rory Stewart, Sebastian Mallaby

Deep Dish: Brexit Heads to Parliament

Now that EU leaders have accepted the Brexit deal, it's up to Parliament to decide what happens next. Rory Stewart and Sebastian Mallaby join Phil Levy to discuss.



| By Simon Curtis

Global Cities in the International System: A New Era of Governance

Nation-states need quickly to realize the potential of global cities, and take steps to empower them to meet the global challenges of the twenty-first century. They should allow them more fiscal autonomy and give them a louder, more influential voice in the deliberations of international organizations.


| By Robert Muggah, Sheila Foster

It's Time for Cities to Flex Their Soft Power

Cities, not nation-states, are the dominant unit of human organization in the twenty-first century. Humanity has shifted from a predominantly rural to urban species in a startlingly short period of time. The world today is stitched together by thousands of small, medium, and large cities—including 31 mega-cities, depending on how you define them—that are dramatically transforming our political, social, and economic relations. Yet, despite the centrality of cities in modern life and to resolving critical global challenges, our international affairs are still dominated by nation-states. This status quo is no longer acceptable.