Is a Coherent U.S. Strategy Possible in a Strategically Incoherent Middle East?

Is a Coherent U.S. Strategy Possible in a Strategically Incoherent Middle East?
A U.S. soldier sits on an armored vehicle on a road leading to the tense front line with Turkish-backed fighters in Manbij, northern Syria, April 4, 2018 (AP photo by Hussein Malla).

U.S. President Donald Trump has promised that Syria, Russia and Iran will pay a price for the latest use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria’s brutal civil war. But if he does decide to carry out punitive strikes for the chemical attack in the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma, they will do little to satisfy advocates for a more forceful U.S. involvement on humanitarian grounds. Nor are they likely to deter future outrages, if the missile strike Trump ordered last year after a previous use of chemical weapons is any indication.

More importantly, they will leave unresolved the geopolitical challenges that have bedeviled the U.S. approach to the Syrian civil war since it began in 2011. As that conflict has evolved, those challenges have broadened to encompass the U.S. approach to the region writ large.

The question confronting the U.S. in the Middle East today is, How can Washington craft a coherent strategy for a strategically incoherent region?

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.