The papers included address in detail some of the implications of those perceptions for US military presence and policy in the region. Brent Talbot focuses his analysis on the key segment of the region's population that stands between the totally dispossessed and deprived radical base and some entrenched, corrupt regimes. This Arab majority, he argues, can reshape the region's states into culturally compatible and accountable (if not purely democratic by western standards) revisionist Arab and Islamic political and economic states that are much more compatible with United States values and presence. This is a significant message in terms of the longer-term strategic postscript to the current US-Iraq conflict. Mike Meyer focuses his analysis at the more operational level of US military personnel on the ground in the region, but comes to complementary conclusions as to United States public diplomacy and presence. He argues that American military personnel and programs must purposefully shape the relationships--and through them perceptions and attitudes--with the emerging military and political leaders in this region of transition. This approach also provides a key element to the statebuilding exercise that will likely soon present itself. Together the two papers suggest a wisdom of experience--academic and practical--that is essential to the high-stakes endgame that lies before us.
INSS Occasional Paper 48