Thursday, July 1, 2010

Obama and the Middle East: A round-up of assessments to date at Tablet Magazine

This is a great compendium of analyses of the Obama administration's policies to date vis a vis the Middle East.  Tablet columnist Lee Smith has lent his weekly column space to range of savvy observers in this two-part series, including well-known figures like Martin Kramer and Robert Malley, as well as other colleagues and friends with keen perspectives to share. 

Part I: Elliott Abrams, Robert Malley, Dore Gold, Andrew Exum (June 30, 2010)
Part II: Rahmin Amadi, Lokman Slim, Martin Kramer, Jacob Weisberg (July 1, 2010)

Excerpt from Lokman Slim, Lebanese publisher, filmmaker, and activist:
Despite great sacrifices and numerous blunders made by the United States under his predecessor, Obama must face squarely the reality that from Lebanon to Iraq to Afghanistan a return to the status quo ante is neither possible nor desirable.  Obama too eagerly lowered the flag of democracy in order to raise the flag of engagement.  And while the former may have become viewed as a euphemism for military intervention, the latter has quickly become a euphemism for giving up.  At the level of policy and diplomacy, this confusion must be erased--especially vis-a-vis those who continue to struggle for change.