The National features the launch of the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Strategy Task Force (MEST) in an article by one of its panelists, James Zogby:
It was the launch of the Middle East Strategy Task Force and the Atlantic Council asked me to present a report on how Arab public opinion views the challenges facing the region and how the US could address these concerns. The Task Force’s goal, according to its co-chairs, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former national security adviser Stephen Hadley, will be to develop a long-term US strategy to assist the Middle East achieve stability and prosperity.
One might take a jaded view and see it as just another election-year effort by a Washington think tank to develop a policy paper that will, in the end, be nothing more than a restatement of conventional wisdom and existing policy. What I believe sets this project apart is the stated resolve of the co-chairs to ground their work in the views and needs of the Arab people. Instead of projecting policies developed in Washington for the people of the region, the Task Force intends, as a starting point, to ascertain what the people of the region say they need and then craft policies that meld America’s interests and capacity with Arab aspirations.