April 22, 2014

Obama’s Middle East Policy: Breakthrough or Breakdown?

Robert Freedman, Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins University

Focusing on the interests of the US in the Middle East during the Obama administration, Freedman points out good news and bad news with respect to the relationship between the Middle East and the United States. Although there has been a better connection to Iran through more conversation, our relationship with Syria and Russia is still crumbling. The discussion goes into the relationships that the US should’ve maybe developed instead of spending so much energy on Iran and Syria such as Turkey, Egypt, and Iraq. Freedman then goes into the three main issues in the Middle East assessing the Arab Israeli Peace Process, Iran, and Syria. He expresses his disappointment with the lack of action from the Obama administration in Syria. The mantra of the Obama administration according to Freedman is, “I got us out of Iraq, I’m getting us out of Afghanistan, I’m not going to get involved in Syria.” The administration didn’t believe that US involvement in Syria would’ve made the situation much better. Pushback from this decision emphasized that no action is action. Freedman expresses that the US is not starting to provide arms to the rebels in Syria and that a full-blown military operation in Syria isn’t particularly necessary.