Our next president will have to reverse the Obama way in the Middle East

President Obama has benefited from a certain Middle East fatigue, or two wars over 15 years.  He has also enjoyed media coverage from reporters afraid to confront him and editorial writers who won't hold him accountable for his policies in the region.

The next president won't be so lucky.  It doesn't matter whether it's Sanders or Carson, Bush, or Clinton; we will be going back into the Middle East in 2017.

As Yaroslav Trofimov wrote, President Obama went too far, and the next guy, or gal, won't have a lot of options but to return, and return big:

Despised by some, admired by others, the U.S. has been the Middle East’s principal power for decades, providing its allies with guidance and protection.

Now, however, with Russia and Iran thrusting themselves boldly into the region’s affairs, that special role seems to be melting away. As seasoned politicians and diplomats survey the mayhem, they struggle to recall a moment when America counted for so little in the Middle East -- and when it was held in such contempt, by friend and foe alike.

“It’s the lowest ebb since World War II for U.S. influence and engagement in the region,” said Ryan Crocker, a career diplomat who served as the    Obama administration’s ambassador to Afghanistan and before that as U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Pakistan.

From shepherding Israel toward peace with its Arab neighbors to rolling back Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait and halting the contagion of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, the U.S. has long been at the core of the Middle East’s security system. Its military might secured critical trade routes and the bulk of the world’s oil supply. 

Today, the void created by U.S. withdrawal is being filled by the very powers that American policy has long sought to contain.

There is that word "void" again!  Void like a vacuum!

Hopefully, CNN will challenge the Democrat hopefuls at the debate and demand answers about our future in the Middle East rather than spend the whole night talking about income inequality or transgender rights.

Maybe one candidate will have the courage to tell the truth and remind the "yes we can" wing of the party to buckle their seat belts.  Our next president will have to be a lot more assertive around the world.      

The Middle East will consume our next president, from standing up to Iran's advances to Putin flying aircraft all over the region, finally degrading ISIS, and restoring relations with Israel.  I know it, but I am not sure that most Americans have been prepared for it.    

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