I wonder if your successor will be able to dance the Middle East Minuet as well as you did. One thing going for him is having APIAC’s perky blond cheerleader, Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state. But still, it takes a nimble set of feet and deft hands to execute the intricate steps required to keep Israel happy and our oil flowing.
The first thing he must master is the Orwellian use of the word “democracy”. In the Middle East a democracy is a democracy when it’s not a democracy, while a democracy is not a democracy when it is a democracy. I understand you had to write that formula down on a well-worn 3 x 5 card which you kept in your shirt pocket for easy reference.
Then he will have to attend to the care a feeding of the monolith. The bureaucratic paranoia that keeps our defense industry fat and sassy needs a monolith. Threats that are as discrete as they are scattered simply won’t do. A talented policymaker is able to glue thousands of flying gnats together in such a way that he creates a big, brown pulsating monster. This is a skill we learned during the Cold War when we cobbled together the Communist monolith that kept the Great Depression at bay until last year.
Thus it is that Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas are lumped together under the faux category of “Islamofacism”, even though both Hezbollah and Hamas were democratically elected and Iran has more comprehensive elections than our “democratic” allies, Saudi Arabia and Jordon.
That doesn’t stop us from touting Israel as a shining beacon of democracy in the Middle East even though only individuals who belong to the state-approved religion can enjoy full citizenship, which is quite proper since God deeded the land to Abraham.
Irony is the backbone of our foreign policy.
The first thing your successor must do if he is to succeed in the Middle East is lose his integrity. You had an advantage in that you had none when you assumed office. Granted, Obama has taken some important steps in that direction, but he still has a way to go.
Fortunately he has surrounded himself with aides and advisors who will lead him out of the wilderness of integrity and into the promise land of duplicity.