Thursday, August 06, 2009

Fouad Ajami: Realism and Benign Neglect Now Drive U.S. Middle East Policy

Fouad Ajami, writing in today's Wall Street Journal, contends that realism and benign neglect are the animating drive of the Obama Administration's new policy in the Middle East. He mourns for the activism in the cause of freedom of the George W. Bush Administration.

I normally concur with Professor Ajami's observations, and I certainly concur that there has been a change for the worse in American Middle East policy. However, I am not convinced that the terms "realism" and "benign neglect" accurately describe the Middle Eastern policy of the Obama Administration. They may be accurate regarding the Administration's approach to despotic Arab regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other "allies" of the U.S., which was the main focus of Professor Ajami's column. With respect to Israel and the looming nuclear threat from Iran, the policy has been neither realistic, nor benign.

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