New York Times Now Taking Questions For Obama From Former Bush Officials

by evanmcmurry

The New York Times gets the White House to admit that were it not for Romney’s tone deaf response to the killing of an American diplomat in Libya, the Obama administration would be on the defensive this week. Why?

The upheaval over an anti-Islam video has suddenly become Mr. Obama’s most serious foreign policy crisis of the election season, and a range of analysts say it presents questions about central tenets of his Middle East policy: Did he do enough during the Arab Spring to help the transition to democracy from autocracy? Has he drawn a hard enough line against Islamic extremists? Did his administration fail to address security concerns?

Good questions, I guess. But the first quoted of those “range” of analysts, who casts the Obama administration as naive and complacent, is a former Bush administration official. So is the second of that “range” of analysts that the New York Times quotes. But the second, Richard Haass, apparently didn’t get the memo:

“The reality is the Middle East is going to be turbulent for the foreseeable future and beyond that,” said Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former State Department official in the Bush administration. “It’s going to present the United States with any number of difficult choices. It’s also going to be frustrating, because in most instances our interests are likely to be greater than our influence.”

Translation of that last line: there’s not all that much we—read: the West, read: Obama—can actually do to affect the events of the Middle East. Which answers all the questions that this “range” of analysts got the New York Times to helpfully ask for them.