Steve Simon

Monday, February 21, 2022

Topic: The US and the Middle East: What Went Wrong?

Steven Simon joined the Center for International Studies (CIS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2021 as its Robert E Wilhelm Fellow following a prolific career in government, private industry, and academia.

Simon served as the National Security Council (NSC) senior director for the Middle East and North Africa during the Obama Administration and as the NSC senior director for counterterrorism in the Clinton White House. These assignments followed a fifteen-year career at the US Department of State.

Between government assignments, he was a principal and senior advisor to Good Harbor LLC in Abu Dhabi and director of the Middle East office of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Manama. He managed security-related projects at the RAND Corporation and was the Hasib Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

His academic appointments include: the John J McCloy ’16 Professor of History at Amherst College, lecturer in government at Dartmouth College, and most recently as Professor in the Practice of International Relations at Colby College. He has had fellowships at Brown University, Oxford University, and the American Academy in Berlin. He will continue his work as a non-resident senior research analyst with the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, a think tank in Washington, DC.

During Simon’s time at MIT, he will be embarking on a project related to the liquidation of imperial commitments, exploring the effects of the war on terror on the United States, and writing a monograph on the history of US-Middle East relations from 1979 to the present, entitled The Long Goodbye: The United States and the Middle East from the Islamic Revolution to the Arab Spring, which will be forthcoming in 2022.

Simon has co-authored several books including The Age of Sacred Terror (Random House, 2004), winner of the Arthur C. Ross Award for best book in international relations; The Next Attack (Henry Holt, 2006), a finalist for the Lionel Gelber Prize which focused on the US response to 9/11; Iraq at the Crossroads: State and Society in the Shadow of Regime Change (Oxford, 2003); Building a Successful Palestinian State and The Arc: A Formal Structure for a Palestinian State (RAND 2005); The Sixth Crisis (Oxford, 2010); The Pragmatic Superpower: The United States and the Middle East in the Cold War (W.W. Norton, 2016); and Our Separate Ways (Public Affairs, 2016).

Upcoming Speakers

  • April 17, 2023
    Susan Landau
    Topic: The Reality of Cyberwar – in Ukraine and Elsewhere
  • May 8, 2023
    Christopher Costa
    Topic: Reflections on Counterterrorism and the Future Terrorism Threat
  • June 10, 2023
    Amna Nawaz
    Topic: To Be Announced
  • July 10, 2023
    Thomas Ricks
    Topic: First Principles: What America's Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country

Past Speakers