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Thu September 5, 2013
Triad Professor Watches Developments Surrounding Syria's Internal Struggle
Many in the Triad are watching as members of the U.S. Congress debate taking military action in Syria.
Dr. George Simpson teaches the history of relations between the United States and Middle East at High Point University. He says one of the greatest challenges the United States faces is that it creates policies for that region, without considering the historical oppression Arab people experienced at the hands of Westerners. "Many Arabs remember Britain, France the Western powers as being masters. They see their lives being manipulated by powers beyond their control. They also believe the United States is picking up that mantle," explains Dr. Simpson. "While Americans don't see themselves as imperialists, we have to understand people in that region see us that way." Dr. Simpson says while the United States should assume a strong position, it must also offer a plan that shows the people of Syria and across the Middle East that the U.S. wants to help make their lives better. "I think of things like the Marshall Plan. We also need certain red lines, like Iran cannot pass a nuclear threshold," advices Dr. Simpson. "Give people in the region some reason to see hope that the United States is willing to use its military but its also aware of the imperial heritage of the past." Dr. Simpson also believes this approach will attract allies for the United States including Great Britain and the French. Dr. Simpson is an editor of the Journal of the Middle East and Africa. While serving in the U.S. Air Force, he was also a Middle East analyst