In a time of American uncertainty with its relationship in the Middle East, New America’s American Strategy Program and Middle East Task Force hosted the Hon. Chas Freeman, former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Ambassador Freeman shed light on current topics in the region including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and the even the role China plays there. With 30 years of expertise, he reflected from a unique position to offer up a provocative discussion on America’s role in the Middle East. His talk came on the back of his new book America’s Misadventures in the Middle East, which gives a devastating critique of American grand strategy in the Middle East.
Amb. Freeman went into specific detail over the failures of American meditation between Israelis and Palestinians, in light of the recently released Palestine Papers, noting that “America has disqualified itself as a mediator [‘of the peace process’].” Additionally, when asked about American presence in Afghanistan, he added that it was unsustainable to continue an occupation with an overriding strategy of often mutually exclusive strategic and tactical goals, and recommending that departure of American troops would be best for American strategy. Finally, Amb. Freeman talked about the Sino-American relationship. Having been at the forefront of the relationship thirty years ago himself, Amb. Freeman stressed that America has put itself in a bad position with China (especially as it assert itself forcefully in the Middle East for its own interests) an has wrongly viewed the relationship as a “Zero-Sum game.”