U.S. Credibility in the Middle East

By Jacob Olidort

Dr. Jacob Olidort is a Soref Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where his work covers jihadism, Salafism, and Islamic political movements. He received his Ph.D. in Near Eastern studies from Princeton University, where his research focused on the intersection of Islamic law, theology, and modern politics.

“America has lost.” Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte used this phrase last October when announcing his split from the United States and his country’s realignment toward China.

The fate of the United States in the Philippines mirrors its foreign engagements over the last eight years, particularly in the Middle East. The irony, of course, is that the U.S. has in fact achieved successes in many places, including the Middle East, during this period – al Qaeda core has been significantly reduced, ISIS is being routed out of Mosul and soon from Raqqa, and we have defined two objectives in Syria (unseating Assad and countering ISIS there) that we have pursued consistently without committing U.S. boots on the ground. And yet, the Obama Administration has been branded by the world community and popular opinion as having failed in its foreign policy.

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