Tony Badran has an interesting piece in Real Clear World that talks about President Barack Obama’s dream of a Middle East equilibrium:
Obama wants to integrate Iran into a regional concert system presumably based on “equilibrium.”
The first step of this involves Syria. As Obama said at his news conference announcing conclusion of his deal with Iran concerning the latter’s nuclear weapons program,
We’re not going to solve the problems of Syria unless there’s buy-in from the Russians, the Iranians, the Turks, our Gulf partners…. Iran is one of those players, and I think that it’s important for them to be part of that conversation.
Badran went on:
Obama’s core conceit is his roundtable approach to the region; a new regional equilibrium between the major players whose legitimate stakes should be preserved.
But there’s a larger concern here, that’s outside the scope of Badran’s piece. That concern is the breadth of the “region,” and who the players are in Obama’s ultimate region.
Consider, for instance, Obama’s emphasis on the UN’s interests above our nation’s interests.
He’s put Russian concerns regarding Ukraine, Iran, Syria, the Baltics, and so on ahead of our particular concerns and those of key allies like Poland, the Baltics, Ukraine, and Israel.
He’s put the People’s Republic of China’s interests concerning trade with the PRC and the East and South China Seas ahead of our particular concerns and those of key allies like Japan, Australia, the Philippines and potential allies like Vietnam, Malaysia, and Borneo.
I’ve singled out Obama’s emphasis on the UN in this on purpose. Russia and the PRC sit with us on the UN’s Security Council and each has veto power over initiatives we might bring to the Council in Obama’s comity of that roundtable.
Is the US at the center of Obama’s ultimate region within which “equilibrium” must be reached, rather than American national interests satisfied?