Ambassador Ryan Crocker visited Pittsburgh in April 2018 for a series of Council programs engaging students and the greater Pittsburgh community in a dialogue addressing the current state of affairs in the Middle East. Here, he continues the discussion with Angélica, offering his unique insight as a diplomat with nearly four decades of experience in the region. Ambassador Crocker gives a first-hand account of the recent history of the Middle East, starting with his initial impressions during his first assignment in Iran. He speaks on the causes of an unprecedented time in the region characterized by total state failure and chaos replacing governments, while providing perspective on the rise of non-state actors. Ambassador Crocker further discusses the potential outcome of a decreased American presence in Syria, as well as the continued influence of Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. He illustrates the challenges and progress of the war in Afghanistan, detailing the vulnerability to the strides made in the empowerment of women in the country.
Ambassador Crocker is a career ambassador within the U.S. Foreign Service. He was in the Foreign Service for 37 years and, after retiring, was recalled to active duty by President Obama in 2011 to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan. His previous appointments included service as the U.S. Ambassador to Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Lebanon. Mr. Crocker became dean of Texas A&M University’s George Bush School of Government and Public Service in 2010; he is currently a Diplomat in Residence at the Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, for the academic year 2017-2018. Mr. Crocker has received many of the nation’s highest honors, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.
VIDEOS OF INTEREST:
- Ambassador Crocker in 2015 commenting on the Syria crisis
- Ambassador Crocker surprises troops on a visit to Kandahar, Afghanistan
- The Miller Center’s American Forum featuring Ambassador Crocker
- Ambassador Crocker answers questions about Assad’s regime on MSNBC