How President Obama turned over control of America’s Middle East policy to Vladimir Putin

Our Man in Moscow
by Michael Doran
December 1, 2015

Obama’s headlong support for the Iran nuclear deal and his pursuit more generally of a concert system with Moscow and Tehran have encouraged the rise of a Russian-Iranian military alliance dedicated to diminishing the United States and its allies. His rejection of traditional military deterrence as a legitimate tool of foreign policy has given that alliance a free hand in Syria. Even as Russian policies vastly complicate the fight against IS and offer Putin increased leverage over key American allies, Obama remains captivated by the theory that, in the end, Russia and Iran will come around and cooperate productively with the United States. The president entered office in 2009 believing in this theory; for seven years he has based his Middle East strategy on it; and nothing that has occurred in the interim has disabused him of the notion. Whenever he has taken an overt step that suggested otherwise—that he was moving toward a harder line in Syria or preparing to counter Russia and Iran—he has engaged in action behind the scenes to undermine his own position. READ MORE

Choice quote: …Even normally sympathetic observers found the president’s speech oddly disconnected from reality. David Rothkopf, the editor of Foreign Policy, summarized it as follows: “Good morning. Cupcakes. Unicorns. Rainbows. Putin is mean. Thank you very much.”

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