Five years after pledging to remake the U.S. relationship with the broader Middle East and improve America’s image in the Muslim world, the Obama administration’s regional strategy appears to have come unhinged.
President Barack Obama has been confronted by fast-moving and ominous developments from Afghanistan to Tunisia, amid a bitter public power struggle between Iranand Saudi Arabia, and has adjusted his first term’s grand plan to restore Washington’s standing and influence.
Now, it’s a smaller vision that seems to rely on ad hoc responses aimed at merely keeping theUnited States relevant in an increasingly volatile and hostile atmosphere.
His administration has been forced to deal with three years of civil war in Syria. A Western-backed opposition is struggling to topple an autocratic government and repel Islamic fighters who also are destabilizing neighboring Lebanon and Iraq, where al-Qaida has resurged less than three years after Obama withdrew U.S. forces.