For the last couple of days I’ve been pretty absorbed in debating whether the United States should disengage from the Middle East with Bernard Finel over at Outside the Beltway. Dr. Finel is taking the affirmative; I am taking the negative.
I have argued for a the United States to maintain a dramatically smaller â€œfootprintâ€ on the ground in the Middle East while actively seeking to reduce our â€œfingerprintsâ€ on policy developments in the region. The U.S. military is too active and too visible. American Embassies are too large. And in general, our role in region is too overwhelming. Poll after poll shows the same thing â€” The United States is blamed for many of the misfortunes of the region and is considered an aggressive, hostile, imperialist power. At this point, our active involvement is self-defeating.
He develops that argument with the claim that our interests in the Middle East are limited to counter-terrorism, oil, and Israel and that our presence in the Middle East is on net counter-productive in all three matters.
This afternoon my negative cross-examination will appear and when it does I’ll update this post accordingly.
Please join in. This is an interesting and important topic and the debate form is one that isn’t exploited enough in the blogosphere which has historically limited itself to diatribue and polemic, very limited forms with very different objectives than debating.