July 6, 2015
The New Containment: Changing America's Approach to Middle East Security
By Bilal Y. Saab
In a new report entitled The New Containment: Changing America's Approach to Middle East Security, Bilal Y. Saab, Senior Fellow for Middle East Security at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, makes the case for a more creative and cost-effective US containment approach to regional security in the Middle East that seeks, among other things, to ultimately involve regional stakeholders in a cooperative security system. Saab starts with four key assumptions: First, there is no lasting security and stability in the Middle East without real political and economic development. Second, the United States neither can nor should be the agent pushing for change in the region; change should almost always come from within. Third, change cannot happen without first addressing immediate and severe security challenges. And fourth, the United States cannot address those security challenges alone.
The United States has three realistic, strategic options—counterterrorism, hands-on, and cooperative security—to choose from to arrest the collapse of order in the Middle East and improve security conditions. Saab argues that a new regional cooperative security system (formal or informal), with the United States playing the key role of facilitator, is a more cost-effective, sustainable, and strategically sound security option than the other two options for both the United States and the region.
Read the Report (PDF)