The Gulf’s enormous reserves of oil make it one of the world’s great prizes—as has been recognized by those most hostile to the United States, from the Nazis and the Soviets, to Saddam Hussein, al Qaeda, and the Islamic Republic of Iran. What has compounded the danger for Washington is that the political order of the Gulf is inherently unstable, as has been abundantly clear ever since the collapse of the shah’s regime, which had once been an American security pillar in the Gulf, in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
That responsibility to prevent an Iranian nuclear breakout may have now fallen to Netanyahu is not an indication that Israel’s sphere of influence has expanded but rather that under the Obama administration America’s has contracted. It’s a startlingly narrow focus for an American president after more than 60 years of American hegemony in the Persian Gulf. If, as we believe, control of the region remains a vital U.S. interest, the United States must be prepared to defend it. The Obama Doctrine seems to suggest it is not and we won’t.