Middle East Assessment

Here’s Walter Russell Mead’s Wall Street Journal assessment of the prospects for U. S. policy with respect to the Middle East:

For now, the muddled Middle East is a place where no one is happy but American interests are reasonably secure. Oil flows freely to the world’s markets; Israel is as safe as a country in the region can be; and the defense of this messy status quo doesn’t depend on large-scale deployments of U.S. power.

The American withdrawal from the Middle East began under President Obama as his administration’s hopes for democratic Islamism faded away. Interrupted briefly to fight ISIS, the withdrawal has continued under President Trump. A President Biden might try a reset with Iran and engage more diligently in peacemaking in Libya and Syria, but barring major new challenges, his administration would likely continue on the basic Trump-Obama course.

I think he’s underestimating the influence that VP Biden’s pick as running mate might have on prospective policy, whether as a signal or in presumably her own right.

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