The Gaza War and U.S. Middle East Policy: Appraising the Biden Administration

The latest crisis in the Middle East following Hamas’s October 7th assault on Israeli communities bordering Gaza quickly became a test for the Biden administration’s crisis management capacity. It has since evolved into a challenge to the administration’s broader policy toward the Middle East, which aimed for a transformation of the region fueled by normalization of relation between Israel and Saudi Arabia. This ambitious project for a new Middle East has now been jeopardized by a lingering problem of the old Middle East, the Israel-Palestine conflict, which could spiral into a regional war. QI assembled a panel of experts, including Aaron David Miller and Dennis Ross, former senior officials who helped shape U.S. Middle East policy over the course of decades, and a distinguished scholar of American foreign policy in a global context, Emma Ashford. The panel was moderated by Steven Simon, senior research analyst at the Quincy Institute and Professor of Practice in Middle Eastern Studies at the Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington.


Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross is the counselor and William Davidson Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He also teaches at Georgetown University’s Center for Jewish Civilization. Ross previously served many years as a senior official under the Obama, Clinton, H.W. Bush, and Reagan administrations. Most recently, he served two and a half years as special assistant to President Obama and as National Security Council senior director for the Central Region. He has authored several books, including "Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama" (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2015).

Emma Ashford

Emma Ashford is a Senior Fellow with the Reimagining US Grand Strategy program at the Stimson Center. Ashford is also a nonresident fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point, and an adjunct assistant professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University. Her work focuses on questions of grand strategy, international security, and the future of U.S. foreign policy. She has expertise in the politics of Russia, Europe, and the Middle East.

Aaron David Miller

Aaron David Miller is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, focusing on U.S. foreign policy. He has written five books, including his most recent, "The End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President" (2014) and "The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace" (2008). He received his PhD in Middle East and U.S. diplomatic history from the University of Michigan in 1977.

Steven Simon (Moderator)

Steven Simon is Senior Research Analyst at the Quincy Institute and Professor of Practice in Middle Eastern Studies at the Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington. From 2011 to 2012, he served on the National Security Council staff as senior director for Middle Eastern and North African affairs. He also worked on the NSC staff from 1994 to 1999 on counterterrorism and Middle East security policy. His most recent book, "Grand Delusion: The Rise and Fall of American Ambition in the Middle East", was published this spring.