When he took office Obama made it clear he realized how much of a treadmill American policy in the Greater Middle East was on. Striking out in just one area, to try something new with Iran, required -- and will continue to require -- tremendous effort and, yes, courage.
America's closest allies, Israel and the Saudis, have been expressing something close to loathing for President Obama and his policies. In fact, you could think of the Saudi rulers as the John McCains of the Arabian Peninsula.
The need is to reexamine what the clear, compelling U.S. vital interests are in the Arab World. These countries will have instability, violence and bad actors no matter what we do, and there's no end in sight.
An informal bloc of Iran, Pakistan and Turkey would represent a significantly more progressive, moderate and forward-looking coalition than the present Saudi-driven "Sunni coalition" that is divisive, ideological, destructive and sectarian.
Many are voicing surprise at the comments of IMF head Christine Lagarde following the death of the Saudi monarch. We see here the emptiness of a shallow diversity that seeks to put a woman in a prominent position while maintaining incredibly oppressive power dynamics.
While grading term papers in the undergraduate course I teach at USF, "From Slavery to Obama," I found myself watching the televised funeral of one the NYPD officers recently assassinated by an apparently deranged African-American man. The coincidence prompted me to reflect on the moral and political challenges confronting our nation as we commence the new year of 2015.
The focus of our strategy should not be on what we do or do not do with our military. The principal focus of our "fight" should be on getting the countries in the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, etc., to make the defeat of ISIS their responsibility.
According to the White House, the decision to send additional military advisors represents a new phase of U.S. strategy in dealing with the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). To the contrary, I'll argue that this augmentation in the number of military advisors represents failure and a lack of a clear strategy for dealing with ISIS.
You describe something obviously heading for disaster and then add, "What could possibly go wrong?" Such is the Middle East today.
A collective sigh of relief was almost audible across Washington and other western capitals when Sisi accomplished the mission and successfully staged his blood-drenched military coup.
Words like "empire" and "imperialism" do not appear in the mainstream media. We opt instead for the comforting euphemisms -- "exceptional," "unique," "indispensable." Neither will our leaders admit the obvious -- that we have volunteered to sacrifice our youth and our treasure to keep our right to be the world's policeman, judge, jury and executioner.
President Obama has announced a strategy for fighting ISIS that, in many respects, is at odds with the interests of the allies in the Middle East whose support he is seeking. Trying to keep his allies happy and in line with the new ISIS battle has trapped the U.S. in a policy full of contradictions.
Sen. Bob Corker told the Wilson Center last June that, looking back on more than a decade of armed conflict with al-Qaeda, Congress finds itself left with "no ownership whatsoever" of U.S. counterterrorism policy. He called the hands-off congressional approach "totally feckless" -- and he's right.
Extolling the virtues of a ceasefire in the Gaza war that collapsed barely two hours after it took effect, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry inadvertently highlighted the root cause of the failure of international efforts to silence the guns in the Palestinian territory and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
On this Fourth of July weekend, as the world's greatest democracy celebrates its independence, it has an opportunity to right that wrong by reversing course and supporting the Iraqi Kurds in their road to independence.
Last year I had the opportunity to speak with former Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama White House officials about the history of efforts at diplomacy with the Iranian regime.