Long before my moderator days, back when I was a journalist in the Middle East (I lived in and reported on Israel and Palestine, and then became a roving Arab-world correspondent), the one thing I could say for sure about the region is that it was unstable, unpredictable, and risky.
Today, it's all those things, times a hundred. It's like the whole chessboard has been tossed in the air. Some states have effectively collapsed. Once-durable alliances are under scrutiny. Previously solid strategic assumptions require serious updating. But how, and in what direction?
That's the question we're asking on Thursday, when we launch our 14th season with a program we're calling "Unresolved: Shifting Power in the Middle East."
"Unresolved" is the name we give to a format we sometimes use for topics that come with myriad moving parts, and all manner of debatable policy matters, like the Middle East. We do it with five debaters, who go at three different resolutions, one after the other. On Thursday, those resolutions will be:
Trump Is Right on Saudi Arabia
The World Is Safer Without the JCPOA
Turkey Is an Asset to NATO
Our five debaters? Check them out here. They've been thinking these things through for a long time and they're coming to compete. As for me, I'm looking forward to get this fresh look at my old beat. I'll learn new things. You will too. I hope you'll join us live and in-person in New York City at Symphony Space, or online for the Livestream.
Intelligent topics, Intelligent debates - Now available wherever you are
A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, Intelligence Squared U.S. addresses a fundamental problem in America: the extreme polarization of our nation and our politics.
Our mission is to restore critical thinking, facts, reason, and civility to American public discourse.