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Intelligence Squared debate: Shifting power in the Middle East

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An Iranian cruise missile and drones
The Saudi military displays what they say are an Iranian cruise missile and drones used in recent attack on its oil industry at Saudi Aramco's facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, during a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019.
Amr Nabil | AP Photo

A new debate from the Intelligence Squared series about shifting power in the Middle East. Foreign policy experts debate three separate motions: 

1) Trump Is Right On Saudi Arabia

For the motion: 

Michael Doran, senior fellow at Hudson Institute and former senior director, National Security Council. 

President Trump “understands that the American public is not willing to have another George W. Bush-style intervention in the Middle East.”

Against the motion: 

Barbara Slavin, director, The Future of Iran Initiative, The Atlantic Council.

“No, the Trump administration has squandered its leverage in the Middle East by blindly supporting the Saudi monarchy and in particular its reckless and cruel crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman.”

2) The World Is Safer Without the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — or Iran nuclear deal

For the motion: 

Reuel Marc Gerecht, senior fellow, The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and former CIA case officer.

“Appeasement isn't a terribly good start for American foreign policy and that's essentially what we're doing. We're appeasing the Iranians. We're giving them billions and billions of dollars and they can use it any way they wish and one of the ways they use it is by expanding their influence in the Middle East.”

Against the motion:

Brett McGurk, former special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

“Trump pulled out of this deal without any consideration of what would happen or what would come next. The resolution is not whether the JCPOA is a good or bad deal; the question is whether the world is safer.”

3) Turkey Is An Asset to NATO

For the motion: 

Bernard Haykel, professor of Near Eastern studies, Princeton University.

“Turkey is fundamental. It has to remain in NATO. And I hope to God we keep it there.”

Against the motion: 

Brett McGurk, former special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

"What is NATO? It's a vital transatlantic alliance aimed to protect the security and prosperity of its members and on that standard Turkey right now is not an asset to NATO.”