Tillerson's Middle East Trip and the Problem of Conflicting Messages
by Matthew RJ Brodsky
Crossroads with Michelle Makori & David Shuster / i24News
October 23, 2017
Matthew RJ Brodsky joins a panel with Senior Washington Correspondent Dan Raviv and Senior Diplomatic Correspondent Nina Larsen on i24News "Crossroads" with Michelle Makori and David Shuster. They discuss Secretary of State Tillerson's visit to several Middle Eastern capitals and his effort to solve several outstanding issues such as the Qatar crisis. In Afghanistan he spoke of finding moderate members of the Taliban while in Iraq he discussed a unified approach to push back on Iran, urging Iran's proxy forces to "go home."
Brodsky explains that it wouldn't be the first time the U.S. tries to find moderates where they aren't any. Obama also tried this approach with the Taliban but then he also promoted the fiction that the event that made the time ripe for negotiations with Iran was Rouhani's election as president in 2013. There's also a long running theory that while al-Qaeda wants to attack America, the Taliban only desire to live according to Sharia law and seek no foreign adventures. To that one could say that the U.S. hasn't been attacked by ungoverned spaces but that is where terrorists are nurtured and trained to carry out such attacks.
He also explains how Bret McGurk in the State Department has been responsible for the U.S. plan to fight ISIS but given his long history in helping to put together the Iran deal in the Obama administration, he has an interest in preserving the agreement. That is one reason among many that his plan has so far included no strategy to push back on Iran on the ground.