When you’ve lost the AP….
It’s not so much that you have never read a critique of the Obama/Clinton/Kerry foreign policy in the Middle East, but that it’s coming this time from the AP’s chief diplomatic correspondent, Matthew Lee. Hardly a conservative Republican source....
Lee offers a brutal assessment of the failed Obama/Clinton/Kerry foreign policy:
Five years after pledging to remake the U.S. relationship with the broader Middle East and improve America's image in the Muslim world, the Obama administration's regional strategy appears to have come unhinged.
President Barack Obama has been confronted by fast-moving and ominous developments from Afghanistan to Tunisia, amid a bitter public power struggle between Iran andSaudi Arabia, and has adjusted his first term's grand plan to restore Washington's standing and influence.
Now, it's a smaller vision that seems to rely on ad hoc responses aimed at merely keeping theUnited States relevant in an increasingly volatile and hostile atmosphere.
His administration has been forced to deal with three years of civil war in Syria. A Western-backed opposition is struggling to topple an autocratic government and repel Islamic fighters who also are destabilizing neighboringLebanon and Iraq, where al-Qaida has resurged less than three years after Obama withdrew U.S. forces.
The U.S. is struggling to identify a coherent position in Egypt after the military ouster of the country's first democratically elected president. The administration tried its best to avoid calling the power transfer a coup.
Lee does offer administration apologists a chance to defend themselves, but he dismisses them out of hand.
While the crises engulfing the Middle East cannot be blamed on Obama, there are growing fears that the U.S.'s Mideast policy has become rudderless and reactive, and may be contributing to worsening conditions and a rise of Islamic extremism, notably in Syria and Iraq.
The administration has been accused of neglecting those countries while focusing on an elusive Israeli-Palestinian agreement.
Some, including current and former U.S. officials, worry that even the perception of disengagement is problematic and counterproductive. Their litany of complaints stretches from North Africa to Central Asia, and includes:
-a failure to carry through on threats to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad's government for its use of chemical weapons.
-not taking a tougher stand on the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
-not insisting on keeping a residual force in Iraq or offering greater support to the Iraqi government earlier.
-an inability to seal the deal to keep some troops in Afghanistan after 2014.
-seeking out a partnership with Iran while de-emphasizing engagement with nascent democracies in Tunisia and Libya.
How’s that for a report card?