As Iran is unleashed by our nuclear deal to get nuclear weapons and pay for their regional aggression; as Yemen burns despite once being the "model" war on terror; as Syria dies in place with ISIL still holding out and drawing recruits; as Russia penetrated the Middle East after a long absence to again stir the pot for more chaos; as Iraq struggles to defeat ISIL and remains vulnerable to Iranian influence; as Saudi Arabia and Iran square off in a new (so far diplomatic) crisis; as Hamas and Hezbollah stockpile rockets to strike Israel; as jihadis plague the Egyptians in Sinai; as Libya attracts jihadis and migrants who make Europe less safe; as Lebanon remains fragmented and under Iranian influence; and as Afghanistan at the outer edge of the Greater Middle East staggers under the weight of the Taliban and other jihadis trying to exploit our "responsibly ending" the once-"good" war, please recall that just two years ago the Obama administration believed that they were on the cusp of reshaping the Middle East in their image:
After a thorough review, the Obama administration has lowered its foreign policy objectives for the Middle East:
Susan Rice leads US to more modest Mideast strategy[.]
Expansive role of two years ago is scaled down[.]
At the United Nations last month, Obama laid out the priorities he has adopted as a result of the review. The United States, he declared, would focus on negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran, brokering peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and mitigating the strife in Syria. Everything else would take a back seat.
Is that all? What will they do after lunch? Engineer the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?
And this is what they planned to do after deciding previous goals were too ambitious!
Yet in that time, the priority objectives were screwed up and all the problems put in the back seat jumped out of our diplomatic motorcade and started shooting up the neighborhood.
Right now I imagine the administration's priority is just to leave office in one year without anything else that is noticeably bad happening that can be clearly blamed on the Obama administration.
Smart Diplomacy (now with nuance!) is a wonder to behold.
Why yes, I do miss Bush, now that you mention it.
UPDATE: Related discussions here and here.