January 15, 2019


Pompeo Trip Fails to Ease Questions Over U.S. Goals in Mideast (Nick Wadhams, January 15, 2019, Bloomberg)

Missing throughout the trip was any concrete plan or vision for how to move beyond the problems that already bedevil the region -- from the 18-month diplomatic spat between the gas-rich state of Qatar and its Gulf neighbors to the investigation into the death of columnist Jamal Khashoggi, whose killing has become a hurdle for U.S.-Saudi ties.

In the background was the drumbeat of the continuing federal government shutdown, new reports about the investigations into Trump and Russia, and the president's own Twitter feed. It all made for weakened leverage for America's top diplomat.

"The U.S. rolls in hot without a plan or the architecture of policy planning and bureaucracy to support its aims," said Karen Young, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who focuses on the Middle East. "The underlying anxiety of dealing with the Trump administration, with its domestic upheaval, and its foreign policy towards the Middle East that changes daily, is exhausting and counterproductive to diplomacy."

Posted by at January 15, 2019 12:04 AM


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