WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan24) – Dr. Michael Doran, now a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, served on George W. Bush’s National Security Council as Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs—a post which covered all countries in the region, except Iraq.
In an interview with Kurdistan24, Doran explained that he was taking a “wait and see” attitude toward the new Donald Trump administration. He suggested that it was “too early to tell” what Trump’s policies in the Middle East would be, although he readily agreed that Trump would view the Kurdish situation and Peshmerga favorably.
“Clearly, defeating ISIS is going to be one of the top priorities,” he said. “They are going to look favorably on any ally in the region that is going to help them do that.”
Doran has just published a new book, Ike’s Gamble, about the Middle East policy of President Dwight Eisenhower. In 1953, when Eisenhower became president, the US was still relatively new to the region. America’s collective lack of experience was reflected in Eisenhower’s views, which Doran describes as “too simplistic.”
Eisenhower believed that if he accommodated the Arab nationalist position by distancing the US from Israel and Great Britain, the dominant outside power at that time, this policy would draw the Arabs closer to the US.
That approach, however, created a “power vacuum,” into which stepped Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser and his Soviet allies. It resulted in increased instability and anti-Americanism. It also increased Arab hostility to Kurds, as Nasser championed an intolerant Arab nationalism.
In his writing, Doran suggests that President Barack Obama has made a similar mistake regarding Islamic extremism, thinking that it was possible to appease the ideology. Doran notes that Eisenhower learned from his mistake, and he asks whether Obama and those who think like him, will learn from theirs.
Editing by Delovan Barwari
(Rahim Rashidi conducted the interview in Washington, DC)