Following the diplomatic maybe-breakthrough between the U.S., Russia, Iran (?), and Syria, I think I understand Obama’s Middle East policy. If there is a logical coherence to it, then its structure is like a flow chart, composed of 5 parts:
–disengage (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan)
–maintain the status quo if and when you can (e.g. Syria, Israel-Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iran?).
–bend to the local forces of inexorable change (e.g. Egypt, Egypt, Egypt)
–push back a little (e.g. Iran)
–step in at the last minute, only if you have to.
This may be the better part of wisdom, but it should be obvious that it is not the policy is not a progressive one, and it has nothing to do with the idea of promoting democracy or human rights. That was part of the Bush doctrine, and it didn’t work out.