Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

Complete U.S. withdrawal from Middle East highly unlikely: Assessments for the Russian government

Brittany Sheffield, James Madison University
Abigail Weiderhold, James Madison University


The project aims to provide the Russian government with vital information regarding how Russian influence and power might be affected in the Middle East by potential United States’ decisions regarding withdrawal. The purpose of this project is to assess the likelihood of a U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East in order to support the creation of effective Russian foreign policy. The project will specifically look at the relationships between actors and the power dynamics which affect the region. The question of likelihood of U.S. withdrawal will be evaluated through the application of multiple methods including Analysis of Competing Hypotheses, Geospatial Analysis, Causal Analysis through Causal Loop Diagramming/Systems Dynamics, Ripple Effect, and Convergent Scenario Development. Conclusions derived from each of these methodologies will help to inform the next, resulting in a comprehensive study of the current situation and power dynamics of the region. The judgment formulated from this analysis will also provide necessary and new insight to Russian government decision makers, specifically to assess and modify their own strategies of influence and control within the region.