NPR logo Panelists: 'Spreading Democracy in the Middle East'

Panelists: 'Spreading Democracy in the Middle East'

Read about the panelists debating the proposition "Spreading Democracy in the Middle East Is a Bad Idea" in the latest in the Intelligence Squared U.S. series.


Flynt Leverett

Flynt Leverett is a senior fellow and director of the Geopolitics of Energy Initiative of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. He has served as senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council, Middle East expert on the secretary of state's policy planning staff and senior analyst at the CIA.

Dimitri Simes

Dimitri Simes is the founding president of The Nixon Center and publisher of its foreign policy bi-monthly magazine, The National Interest. Before the establishment of the center, Simes served as chairman of the Center for Russian and Eurasian Programs at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Simes was born in Moscow and immigrated to the United States in 1973.

Shibley Telhami

Shibley Telhami is the Anwar Sadat professor for peace and development at the University of Maryland, College Park, and non-resident senior fellow at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. In 2006, he served on the Iraq Study Group as a member of the Strategic Environment Working Group.


Liz Cheney

Liz Cheney is an attorney and specialist in the areas of U.S. Middle East policy and reform in the Arab world. She served most recently as principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. Her responsibilities included designing and managing U.S. government programs to promote democracy in the Arab world.

Danielle Pletka

Danielle Pletka is the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Her research areas include the Middle East, South Asia, terrorism and weapons proliferation. She recently served as a member of the Task Force on the United Nations, established by the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Natan Sharansky

Natan Sharansky is chairman of the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at The Shalem Center in Jerusalem. From March 2003 until May 2005, he was an Israeli minister responsible for Jerusalem, social and Jewish diaspora affairs. He also has served as the deputy prime minister of Israel. He emigrated from the Soviet Union to Israel in 1986.


Robert Siegel

Robert Siegel, a senior host of NPR's award-winning evening newsmagazine All Things Considered, got started in radio news when he was a college freshman in 1964. As a host, Siegel has reported from Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Israel. Before joining All Things Considered in 1987, Siegel served for four years as director of NPR's News and Information Department.