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The Middle East in Transition: Questions for U.S. Policy
3rd edition. February 2015.
The term "Middle East" can create an image of a group of similar countries and peoples with shared politics and histories, but this is deceptive. The people of this part of the world have diverse ethnicities, religions, languages, and understandings of their histories. They experience a variety of different ways of life. This diverse and complex region plays an important role in U.S. foreign policy.
The Middle East in Transition: Questions for U.S. Policy draws students into the policy debate on the issues that shape U.S. ties to the Middle East. The United States' need for oil, its relationship with Israel, worries about ISIS, and Iran's nuclear program make the Middle East an important region. A civil war rages in Syria and threatens to spill over borders. The long-term effects of these events remain to be seen, as does the U.S. relationship to evolving Middle East politics.
The Middle East in Transition: Questions for U.S. Policy provides students with the knowledge needed to take part in the debate on the U.S. role in the Middle East. Parts I and II of the student text offer a historical overview of U.S. relations with the region through the end of the Cold War. Part III focuses on the challenges facing U.S. policy makers today regarding the Middle East.
The Choices Role Play
Students examine three options for U.S. policy in a role play. Each option has a different perspective on U.S. involvement in the Middle East. By exploring this spectrum of alternatives, students gain a deeper understanding of the values and beliefs underlying U.S. foreign policy and are prepared to develop their own policy options.
Looking at the Middle East
Students analyze photographs of the Middle East as an introduction to the region. Students consider the benefits and limitations of using photographs as a source for learning about the Middle East.
The Creation of Israel
Students use primary source documents to identify different views on the creation of Israel.
The Iranian Revolution
Students form hypotheses about the causes of the Iranian Revolution by exploring significant events in Iranian history.
Political Geography of the Middle East
Using historical maps that show border changes, students analyze the geographic conflicts between Israel and its neighbors.
Middle East Leaders' Summit
In small groups, students role-play a summit in which Middle East leaders analyze the U.S. role in the region, sharing their goals and concerns.
Graffiti in Egypt's Revolution
Students assess the role of graffiti in Egypt's revolution and develop views on political protest and censorship.
The Options Role Play
Working cooperatively to present different policy options to an undecided group of senators, students clarify and evaluate alternative U.S. policies toward the region.
Weighing Recommendations for U.S. Policy
Armed with historical knowledge and a sense of their own values, students deliberate the options presented. They articulate their own coherent recommendations for U.S. policy and defend their views in a letter to a newspaper or a member of Congress. Finally, students test their recommendations in hypothetical crises.
Middle Eastern Literature
Students read excerpts from four short stories and assess the interplay between literature, politics, and culture in the Middle East.