Obama and the Middle East

Barack Obama, whose hands had been tied in recent months by domestic concerns, and whose political power had been progressively eroded, has suddenly returned to the world stage. But his prospects for success in thwarting Iran's nuclear ambitions and resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remain dim.

BERLIN – With the successful enactment of his health reform, Barack Obama has achieved his biggest domestic success so far – which, surprisingly, had greater consequences abroad than at home. The US President, whose hands had been tied in recent months by domestic concerns, and whose political power had been progressively eroded, has suddenly returned to the world stage.

Against this backdrop, the signing of a new treaty with Russia on nuclear-arms reduction, the global nuclear-disarmament initiative at the Washington conference, and an emerging new unity with Russia and China concerning further sanctions on Iran demonstrate the recovery of Obama’s freedom of action and operational competence.

In the process, America’s new foreign-policy priorities and objectives are becoming increasingly clear. At their core lie Iran and its nuclear program. To be sure, worldwide nuclear disarmament is in itself a central issue for the Obama administration and, likewise, US relations with China and Russia influence many of America’s other key interests. But when you look at the big picture, it becomes apparent that US foreign policy is seeking to isolate Iran internationally by means of diplomacy.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.


Log in

  1. An employee works at a chemical fiber weaving company VCG/Getty Images

    China in the Lead?

    For four decades, China has achieved unprecedented economic growth under a centralized, authoritarian political system, far outpacing growth in the Western liberal democracies. So, is Chinese President Xi Jinping right to double down on authoritarianism, and is the “China model” truly a viable rival to Western-style democratic capitalism?

  2. The assembly line at Ford Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    Whither the Multilateral Trading System?

    The global economy today is dominated by three major players – China, the EU, and the US – with roughly equal trading volumes and limited incentive to fight for the rules-based global trading system. With cooperation unlikely, the world should prepare itself for the erosion of the World Trade Organization.

  3. Donald Trump Saul Loeb/Getty Images

    The Globalization of Our Discontent

    Globalization, which was supposed to benefit developed and developing countries alike, is now reviled almost everywhere, as the political backlash in Europe and the US has shown. The challenge is to minimize the risk that the backlash will intensify, and that starts by understanding – and avoiding – past mistakes.

  4. A general view of the Corn Market in the City of Manchester Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

    A Better British Story

    Despite all of the doom and gloom over the United Kingdom's impending withdrawal from the European Union, key manufacturing indicators are at their highest levels in four years, and the mood for investment may be improving. While parts of the UK are certainly weakening economically, others may finally be overcoming longstanding challenges.

  5. UK supermarket Waring Abbott/Getty Images

    The UK’s Multilateral Trade Future

    With Brexit looming, the UK has no choice but to redesign its future trading relationships. As a major producer of sophisticated components, its long-term trade strategy should focus on gaining deep and unfettered access to integrated cross-border supply chains – and that means adopting a multilateral approach.

  6. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now