A president of the United States is once again confronted with what to do in what we term, the Middle East. Actually, the expression, “Middle East” was invented at the turn of the 20th century by American Admiral Alfred Mahan. He was discussing the conduct of American military policy, and cited the importance of that area in our trade relations. A major problem confronting President Obama is: what exactly should be the foreign policy of the United States in the Middle East? Let me offer some suggestions:
1. It is critically important for Israel to build positive relations with Arab nations. Both Israel and Arab leaders share a joint concern about terrorist groups in the region. First step on the part of America is insisting that the Israel government cease its settlement building, and work with President Abbas to create an independent Palestinian state. That action would open doors for Israel to establish diplomatic relations with most Muslim nations in the region.
2. Iraq requires a coalition government including both Sunni and Shiite leaders. Either Prime Minister Maliki agrees to this basic concept or he is on his own. Fighting guerrilla groups depends upon winning the support of local people.
3. The situation in Syria has deteriorated to such an extent that moderate forces no longer have any power. Whatever such groups are still existing need moderate military support.
4. An agreement must be reached with Iran that includes their right to pursue nuclear development for peaceful purposes.
5. Nations such as Tunisia should be provided economic assistance since leaders in that nation have come together to work for peace and stability.
6. Egypt is now beyond our influence. It is simply too late to support moderate groups seeking to develop a democratic society. Just wait and listen.