America is losing credibility in the Middle East (tip to Instapundit):
Despised by some, admired by others, the U.S. has been the Middle East’s principal power for decades, providing its allies with guidance and protection.
Now, however, with Russia and Iran thrusting themselves boldly into the region’s affairs, that special role seems to be melting away. As seasoned politicians and diplomats survey the mayhem, they struggle to recall a moment when America counted for so little in the Middle East—and when it was held in such contempt, by friend and foe alike.
It's so odd. We reach out to enemies and stiff arm allies, and rather than turning enemies into friends we worry our friends enough to cause them to wobble.
Like Saudi Arabia, which has long relied on America for security:
Russian President Vladimir Putin met Saudi Arabia's defense minister on Sunday, in Moscow's biggest attempt so far to reach out to enemies of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad since Russia joined the conflict with air strikes.
Or NATO ally Turkey, which President Obama groomed as a tame Islamist ally:
Turkey would hold talks with Russia and Iran to work towards a political solution in Syria but would not take a foreign policy stance which "legitimizes the Syrian regime", Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday.
As we retreat from the Middle East, recall the Carter Doctrine on the region:
Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.
That's gone. President Carter should have just figured that any attempt by an outside force would be doomed to failure and pledged nothing, eh?
So we now have an Obama Doctrine for the Middle East. It's very similar:
Let our position be perfectly clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as supportive of the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an effort will be rewarded by any means necessary, including Nobel Peace Prizes.
See? Basically the same.
We've been retreating, and our enemies are pursuing. One day, even President Obama will conclude we must stop retreating. But our enemies will be so used to him caving in that they won't stop advancing.
And so we will have a new war before this president leaves office.
UPDATE: Reaching out to Russia and Iran really can't work if they don't want to be a partner in defending the world order alongside America.