FOLLOWERS of Middle East events don’t need the warning.
The full picture should alarm progressives who don’t want Hillary Clinton‘s potential first days to focus on war and peace. Domestic issues call but it’s not an easy choice with the Middle East in “free-fall.”
Today there is no single overarching issue but multiple ones. Syria, Iraq and Yemen are caught up in war. Turkey and Jordan are inundated by refugees. Russia has reasserted itself as a major player in the region. Libya is searching for stability after the fall of its longtime dictator. The Kurds are on the march. Egypt is fighting off a terrorist threat at home. And Saudi Arabia and Iran are waging a profound struggle for the future of the region.
“In truth, the Middle Eastern order is so fragmented right now that grand visions are utterly unrealistic, if they ever were,” said Emile Hokayem, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies based in Bahrain. “Circumstances, not mere preferences, dictate policy making, and circumstances are dire.”
Foreign affairs have preoccupied, derailed and confounded every president at some time in their term.
Any objective critique of Democratic and Republican international security policies has to include the lessons of blundering into foreign spaces without a way out. Nation building has become a maze.
It’s Lady Liberty’s Achille’s heel, her bleeding heart.
That presupposes the next president will have a choice.
In the Middle East, she won’t.
History has proven that George W. Bush was way too hot in Iraq and Barack Obama was way too cool on Middle East policy.
Something tells me that should Hillary Clinton continue her current trajectory, once in office she won’t waste much time. What’s been unfolding the last years in Syria alone is a 5-alarm blaze, with war crimes at the root of the problem.
And there is no way Clinton will abide Vladimir Putin‘s continued bullying and expansionist adventure.
The Russian-directed cyber attacks remain a worry as November 8 approaches but the next day it’s a whole new moment for President Obama.
Julian Assange has turned into a scourge and a scoundrel, not to be confused or conflated with Edward Snowden, because trying to hurt an American presidential candidate’s campaign ruins whatever credibility he had.
Transitions send messages and the coordination so far between President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats show direction and fortitude, even opportunity and a plan.
But we can’t get too optimistic because we are talking about the greater Middle East. There’s few who know the players more intimately than Secretary Clinton.