Hours after news of a bombing attack in a Brussels’ airport and subway station by ISIS terrorists, Dean Ryan Crocker took the stage at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center for a panel discussion titled “What Lies Ahead? Considerations for Future Middle East Policy and Decision Making.”
Crocker is a decorated ambassador to six Middle Eastern countries, including Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He was joined onstage by Dr. Michael Doran of the Hudson Institute and Dr. Erin Snider, assistant professor of international affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University.
“Post-9/11, we worked really hard on our intelligence and security capacities and our ability to coordinate among agencies and services,” said Crocker to KBTX news shortly after the panel discussion. “We’ve gotten very, very good at this. The Europeans, sadly, have not. I would say the Belgians are behind where we were on 9/11. They are going to have to do a lot more, and we are going to have to do a lot more to help them as a NATO ally.”
The panel discussion at many times focused on the importance of engagement with the region while recognizing the unintended consequences of both too much intervention and abrupt abandonment of the region. The panelists also discussed the damaging rhetoric of the current presidential campaign, especially among the GOP candidates. Crocker pointed to the administration of President George H. W. Bush as an example of an approach that should be followed by the next administration when it comes to engaging with the Middle East.
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