Monday, July 25, 2016


It's kind of funny, really. President Obama has very much wanted to pull American military power out of the Middle East as part of his legacy.

But rather than support Israel as a pillar of stability, we have undermined Israel.

Rather than support the fledgling Iraqi democracy to build it into a pillar of stability, we walked away and watched Iraq disintegrate.

We have tried to turn mullah-run Shia Iran into a responsible regional power to provide stability by green-lighting their eventual nuclear weapons status (and Iran's smuggling efforts show that "eventual" isn't soon enough for them).

The Arabs were expected to go along and shut up, kept quiet with large arms sales (intended to block Iran).

We embraced the "tame" Islamist Erdogan of Turkey to provide stability from the Sunni side.

And we hoped we could deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan and so stabilize that region.

But it isn't working out.

Iran under the mullahs is no friend, seeks nuclear missiles, and foments unrest.

Turkey under Erdogan is no friend and post-coup attempt no bastion of stability.

And non-reset Russia is making trouble in the Middle East, with spillover in Europe.

So instead of being able to pull out of the Middle East and enjoy the peace and stability, we have had to get more involved again as the death toll continues to rise.

We are in Iraq War 2.0.

We are at war in Syria. 

We've scaled back plans to get out of the Afghanistan War.

We support Arab states waging war in Yemen against pro-Iranian Shias. And we continue to strike al Qaeda there.

We continue to strike jihadis in Pakistan.

We are getting more involved in Libya's civil strife (and ISIL presence).

We have sent troops to bolster Jordan (and fight ISIL in Syria).

And this is called "smart diplomacy" which will define a presidential legacy.

Indeed it will.