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Trump administration should fight terrorism, not proxy wars in Middle East

By in Press Enterprise on November 19, 2017

By The Editorial Board

Unrest has ratcheted up again in the Mideast, and it’s not clear the White House has a firm grip on events.

Although the Trump administration has shifted away from the Obama policy of favoring Iran over Saudi Arabia, recent moves to politically purge the royal family and pressure the Lebanese government to disarm Hezbollah show that the Saudis are prepared to act dramatically in the absence of firm American leadership. The consequences could spell more trouble for the region.

The extended controversy about our Mideast policy has split Americans into several camps. The first wants a full-court press against Iran — aiding the Saudis in their mess of a war in Yemen, guiding the Kurds toward greater independence, and doing whatever possible to undermine the Assad regime in Syria.

The second camp has a dimmer view of these measures. It rallies around the nuclear deal with Iran as a guarantor of regional stability, and tends to view expanded Iranian influence as an inevitability to cope with as the regime in Tehran moderates over time.

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A third camp believes both these approaches are likely to end in frustration, and seeks ways for the U.S. to back out of the treacherous, dangerous rivalry between Sunni and Shia, where no side has clean hands and concrete American successes prove stubbornly […]    

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