The Middle East is changing fast, with US influence waning and Iran challenging Israel as a major regional power. We hear about democracy, radical Islam, and anti-Americanism. Should US interests depend more on military action or diplomacy? Plus, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld holds his last town hall session at the Pentagon, and the mock-documentary Borat--and the law.
FROM THIS EPISODE
With the United States bogged down in Iraq, and President Bush, the Congress and leaders around the world debating the Iraq Study Group's report, there's talk that the "American era" in the Middle East has ended. Without Iraq to offset it, Iran is becoming the strongest Islamic nation—with Israel the region's other major power. We get several views on the changes to come and how they'll affect American interests. Can increased democracy counter radical Islam and be a vehicle for peace and prosperity? Should the US put less emphasis on the military and more on diplomacy?
Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations
Walid Phares, Director of the Future of Terrorism Project, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies'
Abderrahim Foukara, Managing Editor, Al Jazeera Arabic News
Yossi Alpher, Israeli consultant and author
Michael Young, Daily Star
A new mock-documentary is making big money, but some of its unwitting co-stars claim they were duped into making fools of themselves for the entertainment of others. Now a court has taken notice of their complaints. Borat, which is on track to earn more than $100 million, stars zany British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen masquerading as a journalist from Kazakhstan who wants to know more about American life. Yesterday, a Los Angeles County Judge viewed a scene featuring two South Carolina fraternity brothers.
Richard Charnley, Attorney with Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley