President Obama, it would be sheer arrogance to offer some thoughts to you about an overall strategy for the Greater Middle East. You had skillfully demonstrated in your first term that a policy of appeasement and isolationism is palatable to the narrow majority who voted for you for a second term. The “progressives” who lead your brigades are isolationists, theirs is the second coming of George McGovern’s “Come Home America.” Liberalism has been untethered from the internationalism that had been the bedrock of bipartisan foreign policy from Truman to George W. Bush. You had let delirious crowds abroad (more so in Paris and Berlin, it should be emphasized, than in Islamic lands) read into you what they wished, the isolationism at the core of your worldview was covered up by an exotic name and by a pretension to cosmopolitanism.
Our country was worn-out by the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, and by the burdens of a seemingly endless, twilight war against Islamic radicalism, and you capitalize on that disenchantment. You liquidated the war in Iraq and our strategic gains there without a second thought. Iran was its own example of your knack for soaring oratory and embarrassing accommodations with tyrants. The summer of 2009 had put on display your unease with political freedom. A rebellion had broken out against the theocracy; by the appearance of things, it was a decent movement which wanted a better country. The least our country could have done was to speak, through you, on behalf of reform and political freedom. You opted for silence, more remarkably still, you implied that there was a negligible difference between the regime and the opposition: they are all Persians after all. In Iran and beyond, the forces of reform and change took notice, you were a man of the status quo.