On Middle East Policy, Washington Risks Angering Allies
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  • Andrew Allison

    “this Administration has not been very deft in this arena.”? Utterly inept would be a better description.

    • Corlyss

      VM sometimes goes for British understatement.

      • Andrew Allison

        I hope you are correct, and that it’s not shading the truth so as to avoid giving undue offense to the Administration. As a foreign policy guru and historian, WRM must know what a disaster is unfolding in the mid-East and North Africa.

  • Anthony

    “Follow the money has become a catchphrase in both journalism and politics, seemingly applicable to almost any subject. But if you want to understand what really matters to Middle Eastern Muslims, a better rule might be be follow the violence.” For related and contextual material see: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/08/07/in-the middle-east

    Also, “What the Saudis Really Care About” http://www.comentarymagazine.com/2013/10/10what-the-saudis-really-

    • Andrew Allison

      With respect, US foreign policy is not about what’s important to Middle Eastern Muslims but what’s important to the USA. The mind-boggling ineptitude of the current Administration makes Bush look like a genius.

  • Corlyss

    If anyone can make a Mideast “policy” out of the chaos of ad hoc mishmash, screw-ups, missteps, contradictions, and Utopian fallacies characteristic of Dear Leader’s rule, you’re a better man than I, Charlie Brown.

  • thrasymachus02

    Saudis are the scum of the earth. Dumping the Saudis is the first step towards sanity and morality in diplomacy.

    • Fred

      Yes, the Saudis are pestilent savages, but it’s in our interest to be allied with them at the moment. In international affairs, if you want a friend, get a dog. If you want an ally, look to your mutual interests.

  • wigwag

    Obama is making a mistake that could have potentially devastating consequences for the United States.

    What happens if Saudi Arabia decides to retaliate by pumping 2 million fewer barrels of oil each day than they are now? It’s all the same to them; they pump less and prices go up and they make just as much as they are making now. Is it all the same to us? I don’t think so.

    Has Obama stopped to think at all about the incredible benefits that accrue to the United States by having the dollar serve as the world’s reserve currency. One of the reasons it can play that role is because oil is priced in dollars. While there may be no alternative to the dollar at the moment, I suspect that the Saudis have long memories. A few years from now if credible alternatives exist, what might the results be of the Saudis pricing oil in a competing currency?

    Is it really in American interests for the Saudis to diversify their strategic portfolio? The space that opens up between the United States and Saudi Arabia will surely be filled by someone. Isn’t that “someone” likely to be Russia? What are the implications of the largest oil producer in the world (Russia) allying itself with the second largest oil producer in the world (Saudi Arabia)? I’m not sure, but I suspect it can’t be good.

    China’s role in the Middle East is already growing. In part, that’s inevitable as it plays an increasingly critical role in the world economy. Do we really want to accelerate China’s involvement in the Middle East by alienating the Saudis which will push them closer to the Chinese?

    The interests of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab nations are becoming more and more closely aligned. They all oppose Iran; they are all aghast at what’s happening in Syria and they all have a common interest in fighting terrorism. As an added bonus, they all hate the Muslim Brotherhood (as well they should). Isn’t this potentially a very positive development that the United States should be capitalizing on? Couldn’t the ramifications be as broad as implicating peace between Israel and the Palestinians and stability in Egypt, Syria, Bahrain and even Libya? Shouldn’t the United States be encouraging this phenomenon and trying to broker better relations between Saudi Arabia (and the Gulf States) and Israel rather than alienating all of our natural allies in the region?

    Has Obama thought any of this through?

    I doubt it.

    Does anyone in his Administration have a clue?

    It doesn’t seem like it.

  • boldface

    Add the Middle East to the long and growing list of instances of this Administration’s clueless incompetence.

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