On the BBC World Service on Sunday, Professor John Quiggin and I debated the question, “Should the US cut and run from the Middle East?”

Listen to discussion from 31:55

Quiggin argued forcefully for a complete US withdrawal, including from the crises in Syria and Iraq. My own line:

It’s a simplistic question. It’s simplistic for anyone to say the US should march in and use military power to ‘solve’ the Middle East — we’ve seen the disastrous results of Iraq 2003. But it’s just as simplistic to say the US should go and hide in a corner.

It’s a question of how the US intervenes, who it works with, and what type of measures it uses — diplomatic and economic as well as military.

US intervention is needed in Syria — it’s been needed for years against the Assad regime. US intervention is needed, with others, to deal with the question of a stable Iraq, including the question of the Islamic State. US intervention is needed, again with others, on the long-running issue of Israel and Palestine.