Friday, March 27, 2015
Obama's MidEast Realignment
Obama’s Mideast Realignment - Max Boot
[The] facts suggest that Mr. Obama is attempting to pull off the most fundamental realignment of U.S. foreign policy in a generation. He is trying to transform Iran from an enemy to a friend. He is diminishing the alliance with Israel, to lows not seen since the 1960s.
Call it the Obama Doctrine: The U.S. puts down the burden, and Iran picks up the slack.
The U.S. has regarded Iran as its enemy since our embassy in Tehran was stormed and our diplomats taken captive. The Iranians have sponsored numerous terrorist attacks on American targets, in Lebanon in the 1980s and Iraq in the 2000s. In response, successive U.S. presidents have backed Israel and Sunni allies, notably Saudi Arabia. Mr. Obama is bucking this foreign-policy consensus. He is offering Iran extraordinarily generous terms in the current negotiations, suggesting that he will lift sanctions if Iran merely slows down its nuclear-weapons program for a decade.
Now the U.S. is even supporting the Iranian-directed offensive against Tikrit by providing surveillance flights and airstrikes for attacking forces.
The flip side of this shift toward Iran is a move away from longtime allies, most notably Israel, which views the Iranian nuclear program as an existential threat. The president vowed to put some “daylight” between Washington and Jerusalem, and boy has he delivered. His aides deride the Israeli prime minister as a “chickens—” and a “coward,” and Mr. Obama has exhibited more visceral anger at Mr. Netanyahu than he has at Vladimir Putin or Ayatollah Khamenei.
Will Mr. Obama succeed in pulling off his sweeping diplomatic realignment? He still has almost two years in office and considerable presidential prerogative to reorient foreign policy as he sees fit. Ironically, the biggest obstacle in his path may be the Iranian mullahs. If they reject his extraordinarily generous offer for fear of doing any deal with the Great Satan, the folly of his foreign-policy revolution will be brutally exposed.
Mr. Boot is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of “Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present”
[The Wall Street Journal]