The Magazine

Next, Locusts?

The abject failure of the Obama administration's Middle East policy.

Nov 16, 2009, Vol. 15, No. 09 • By ELLIOTT ABRAMS
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But thus far, the anniversary of Obama's election appears to have passed with no rethinking of policy. Instead the administration slogs forward, judging itself by its elevated intentions rather than its performance. Clinton's pronouncements--demand a total construction freeze one day, accept Netanyahu's more modest offer the next, then back to the wider demands two days later in Morocco--are increasingly reminiscent of World War I trench warfare: gain a few yards, lose a few more, while the casualties pile up. There will be no progress this way, and the practical efforts that should be at the heart of U.S. policy will instead be undermined as we poison Israeli-Palestinian relations and degrade the trust both parties have in us.

<ι>Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.