By Michael Rubin, Special to CNN
In the first months of his presidency, Barack Obama laid out his vision for the Middle East. “If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us,” he told the Arabic satellite channel Al-Arabiya in his first television interview as president.
With Middle East in conflict al-Qaeda exploits every opportunity [AP photo]
Six months later, in Cairo, he proposed “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect…[and] principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.”
Unfortunately, Obama has not backed his lofty vision with coherent strategy. Since the Arab Spring protests caught not only regional autocrats but also Washington by surprise, U.S. policy has been reactive rather than pro-active. Far from shaping events, the White House struggles to keep up with events that increasingly spin out of control.