Welcome to the 21st century, a time already characterized by the limits on American power. This is not an argument for isolationism. It is an argument for a realistic understanding of what we can and cannot do and should and should not do.
The village of Budrus effectively organized a campaign of nonviolent resistance against Israel's plans to route its "Separation Barrier" through their village lands. Budrus is a compelling account of this successful experiment.
It might be lucky for Obama that the Arab uprisings coincide with his second battle for the presidency -- if he makes good use of this opportunity. This requires blending aspirations and realities wisely, and with moral courage.