FULLY BOOKED – Media Talk: Obama on the Middle East – From Rhetoric to Reality
As Obama prepares to take office as the 44th US president, he is set to face huge challenges in the Middle East. Will the renewed emphasis on diplomacy that he is proposing with the region pave the way for improved relations with Iran and prevent them from developing their nuclear programme? Will he be able to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace process where every US president before him has failed and how will he balance his commitment to Israel with his desire to build peace with the Palestinians? Who are his new panel of advisors and special envoys to the Middle East and what will they mean for the region? And will the man famed for his rhetoric be able to make his vision a reality?
Lawrence Freedman has been Professor of War Studies at King’s College, London since 1982. He has written extensively on nuclear strategy and the cold war, as well as commentating regularly on contemporary security issues. His most recent book, A Choice of Enemies: America confronts the Middle East, came out in May in the United States and was published in the UK in July.
Dr Emanuele Ottolenghi is the executive director of the Transatlantic Institute. A political scientist by training, he came to Brussels in 2006 after having previously taught Israel Studies at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and at the Middle East Centre of St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. He is a frequent commentator on Israeli domestic politics, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and Europe’s Middle East policy. His columns have appeared on Newsday, the National Review Online, The Middle East Quarterly, the Jewish Chronicle, The Guardian, The Daily Mirror; and blogs on Contentions.