Is there an "Obama doctrine" for the Middle East?

Mr. Obama’s bet, it appears, is that half a doctrine is all he needs right now. It is a moment when American policy needs coherence, even as Mr. Obama insists that a consistent set of tactics is impossible. For months, many Arabs labeled him an opportunist who used uprisings to his advantage in some corners of the Middle East, and ignored them when they threatened to interfere with oil markets or upend America’s strategy to contain Iran. So he could no longer stay silent about his broader principles…

If the royal family in Bahrain continues to listen to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia — who sent troops into Bahrain to make sure that any threat to his neighbor would be met with maximum force — does the president openly split with the Saudis? That seems highly unlikely at a time of $4 a gallon gas and a growing threat from Iran. If the newly empowered voice of the people in Egypt gives an opening to the Muslim Brotherhood, and threatens Egypt’s peace accord with Israel, does the president go forward with his promise of debt relief and loans?

“We think there’s a ‘Muslim Brotherhood exception’ to the aid package,” one of Mr. Obama’s strategists said last week.

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