Rosa Brooks, a liberal and a veteran of the Obama administration, writes:
The Middle East initiatives heralded in his 2009Cairo speech fizzled or never got started at all, and the Middle East today is more volatile than ever. The administration’s response to the escalating violence in Syria has consisted mostly of anxious thumb-twiddling. The Israelis and the Palestinians are both furious at us. In Afghanistan, Obama lost faith in his own strategy: he never fought to fully resource it, and now we’re searching for a way to leave without condemning the Afghans to endless civil war. In Pakistan, years of throwing money in the military’s direction have bought little cooperation and less love.
The Russians want to reset the reset, neither the Chinese nor anyone else can figure out what, if anything, the “pivot to Asia” really means, and Latin America and Africa continue to be mostly ignored, along with global issues such as climate change. Meanwhile, the administration’s expanding drone campaign suggests a counterterrorism strategy that has completely lost its bearings – we no longer seem very clear on who we need to kill or why. . . .
[J]ust as a start-up company needs more than an entrepreneurial founder with a couple of good ideas and a nifty PowerPoint presentation, the United States needs more than speeches and high-minded aspirations.