In just two months, a new U.S. president will be thrown into a mess that has dogged the Obama administration for much of its time in office – how and where should the United States exert influence in an increasingly volatile Middle East?
There’s a growing recognition in foreign-policy circles that something has to change – that the Obama administration’s policy of keeping the civil war in Syria at arms’ length, for example, has not been effective. Critics argue a U.S. policy of disengagement from the region has left a hole for countries like Russia and Iran to exploit – and even play an active military role – in the past few years.
It’s not just something said by Mr. Obama’s Republican critics. There’s an acceptance of that even among officials supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton for president. Taking a more “hawkish” stance is one way the former secretary of state has occasionally distanced herself from Mr. Obama in this election.