Monday, June 23, 2014

Observations - The Middle East

There is a good article in Politico discussing the success of the Obama administration in the Middle East. What was the Middle East like when President Obama took office? In 2009 the Middle East "was largely at peace, for the surge in Iraq had beaten down the al Qaeda-linked groups. U.S. relations with traditional allies in the Gulf, Jordan, Israel and Egypt were very good. Iran was contained, its Revolutionary Guard forces at home." I would also add that relations with Saudi Arabia and the other gulf states were good, the price of oil had fallen to about $40 a barrel (it hasn't been below $70 since), and there was little unrest across the Middle East and North Africa. Now the U.S. economy was in disarray and domestically things were not well, but in regards to foreign relations, things were as well as they probably would ever be.

What are things like today? Today "terrorism has metastasized in Syria and Iraq, Jordan is at risk, the humanitarian toll is staggering, terrorist groups are growing fast and relations with U.S. allies are strained." I would add that relations with our allies are strained at best. Iraq ia in a fight for it's life. North Africa is in ruins and chaos reigns. The Middle East is a mess. Ukraine is in a full civil war. And Russia and China are flexing their military muscles. In a short 5 years the world went from peace to mayhem.

Does foreign policy matter? Does having a strong military matter? Does the price of oil matter? Yes, yes, and yes. How many people have lost their lives? Hundreds of thousands. How many lives have been disrupted? Millions. How many jobs have been lost worldwide as a result? To many to count. If things do not improve soon, the presidency of Obama will be marked by one of the largest foreign relations debacle ever. I was not a fan of President Bush, but at least we had some semblance of peace in the world.

What do you think?

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