Still, even while it seems confused and directionless, Barack Obama’s Middle East policies have logic and coherence. Indeed, they follow strict directives that the president has imposed. I call them BHO’s Five Commandments, and they tell you all you need to know about why the president does what he does from Cairo to Damascus.
Commandment No. 1: Care more about the middle class than the Middle East.
Obama may not be able to fix either one. But there’s no doubt he’d rather be remembered as a president who tried to repair America’s broken house than one who chased around the world on a quixotic quest to fix somebody else’s. Immigration reform, the budget, making Obamacare work, continuing to focus on infrastructure, education — these are things that are important to the American people and to the legacy of a president who is of one of only 17 elected to a second term. Time’s running out. Why squander it on problems he cannot fix, like Syria? …
Commandment No. 5: Protect our core interests.
For Barack Obama, the Middle East is divided into five core interests and two discretionary ones. What really counts is getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan; keeping the country safe from attack; weaning America off Arab hydro-carbons; carrying out the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security; and trying to prevent Iran from acquiring nukes. From his vantage point, he’s checked the box in at least four so far; and he’s working on the fifth — the success of which is far from assured.