Change: The Establishment Cools Toward Obama’s Middle East Policy
As Syria burns and Egypt seethes, the biggest foreign policy story is unfolding right here at home. The establishment is rapidly losing patience with President Obama’s Middle East policy.
For some time, the left of the MSM has been attacking the White House over issues like drones and Guantanamo, but now much heavier fire is coming from the center. The Washington Post ran an opinion piece by Thomas Carothers and Nathan J. Brown arguing that the administration’s Egypt policy has been overtaken by events. And both Dexter Filkins in the New Yorker and Bill Keller in the New York Times have gone after the administration for dithering on Syria, especially in light of the mounting evidence that Assad has crossed the administration’s “red lines” on the use of chemical weapons. These are heavy hitters; throw in the David Sanger co-authored NYT weekender saying that the whole “red line” controversy in Syria was caused by a major presidential gaffe, and some of the biggest dogs in town are saying some very harsh things about presidential competence and judgment.
If we were sitting in the White House right now, we would be worried that the Benghazi hearings scheduled for later this week could be an important tipping point, accelerating the MSM turn away from a lame duck president whose Middle East policies, to put it mildly, face some unresolved issues.
President Obama faces a tough mix of domestic and foreign challenges in the Middle East. Abroad, the situation in Syria has steadily worsened while the Egyptian revolution he championed looks less attractive every day. The mullahs in Iran have not shown many signs that they fear his wrath, suggesting that a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue is not in the cards.