The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take: America ‘In Retreat’ and Now ‘Irrelevant’ in Middle East

“The issue goes way beyond the Libya attack. To hear Jay Carney talking about this as as a result of a movie or result of frustration. Provocations and frustration are a constant in the Middle East. They have been there for 1,000 years. But all of a sudden American interests, American embassies, American schools are aflame in the region. Why? The answer, we heard from General Keene, he is a strategist. The reason is, people have looked in the region, the friends of America and enemies of America and they see the United States, which has dominated the region since 1970, when Kissinger did the strategic shift, Egypt went from a pro-Soviet enemy to a pro-American ally. We have dominated the region. We are now in retreat. 

Obama himself said we’re doing a pivot out of the Middle East to the Pacific.  He has proclaimed the tide of war is over. He took us out of Iraq leaving no residual force. He announced withdrawal from Afghanistan on a timetable. When it came to Arab Spring, he was indecisive. In Iran he would not support protesters. Libya, half in and half out. Everybody in the region understands that America, which had been the dominant element, is now in withdrawal, is not interested.  The Gulf Arabs are apoplectic about Iran going nuclear, it’s not just Israel. Now our friends are looking around saying, ‘Do we really have anybody who will support us?’ The extreme jihaddists and the moderate jihaddists in the region are now saying ‘This is our time.’ I’ll give you one example of the withdrawal of our influence. Syria: does anybody in the region ask what is the American position? Everybody wants to know what Russia is doing and thinking and what supplies it’s sending. What’s Iran doing? What is Hezbollah doing? America is irrelevant.” 



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