He’s been a total and complete disaster.
Obama’s Middle East Policy: A Unified Field Theory
By Barry Rubin
In the history of physics, the “unified field theory” was an attempt to bring together an understanding of all forms of energy in a single explanation. Albert Einstein tried and failed to discover this. I don’t know much about physics but I know about Middle East policy.
So here’s an effort to bring together all of Obama’s regional policy into a single analysis and explaining everything in 1100 words.
The first point is that the Obama Administration’s behavior must be divided into two phases. They overlap and feature the same kind of thinking but they are also quite separate.
Phase One, from January 2009 until December 2011 was characterized by an emphasis on Israel-Palestinian peacemaking. Obama’s Administration believed that it was possible to make rapid progress toward peace and also thought that this was essential to achieve anything else in the Middle East.
To achieve peace, they thought, required mainly putting pressure on Israel for more concessions and winning support from Arab states and Muslims by proving that the United States was more sympathetic to them than any previous presidency.
I don’t want to review all of the details but this included being more critical of Israel, lavishly flattering Arabs and Muslims, asking Arab states for help, demanding a building freeze on Israeli settlements, adding a construction stop in east Jerusalem to these demands, calling for a December 2009 Camp David summit, urging a return to the 1967 borders with minor changes, and other steps.