President Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to reset America’s relations with nations the world over. With engagement as the chosen method and diplomacy as the preferred means, he articulated his vision for the Middle East through several speeches and visits to the region. In Iran, the contested elections in June 2009 challenged the administration as it offered the choice between engaging with the regime, or engaging with the people. Today, a year into Obama’s presidency, the current method of diplomatic engagement in the Middle East has yet to yield positive results. Instead, it has strained relations with Israel while the clock continues to tick on Iran’s nuclear program.
This spring edition of inFOCUS examines President Obama’s first year in office. Laura Grossman, from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies discusses the missed opportunities to pressure Iran, while Sebastian Gorka, a national security and military affairs expert looks at America’s strategy in Afghanistan. Jonathan Tobin, the executive editor of COMMENTARY magazine explores the problems with the Obama administration’s approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Don’t miss our one-on-one interview with Lee Smith about his new book, The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations. He discusses why many in the West fail to understand the Middle East as it really is and provides a sobering assessment of President Obama’s first year of engagement in the region.
I am also pleased to announce that Matthew RJ Brodsky, a former Legacy Heritage Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council, has been named director of policy at the Jewish Policy Center. In this issue of inFOCUS, he explains how the approach to Syria is based more on hope rather than experience.
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