There was a time, not too long ago, when the president would have taken deafening criticism for his Middle East policy. If you listen very carefully, you can hear the Israelis and the Saudis howling in protest, but no one in Washington or the media seems to give a shit. The few who are saying anything are certainly not getting much attention. They tried to rope President Obama into Syria and he wriggled out of their chains. They tried to keep him from talking to Iran, but he’s going ahead with it despite their complaints.

I think he has this freedom of action in part because he’s a second-term president who doesn’t have to worry about getting reelected, but it’s also because the Republicans no longer speak with one voice on foreign policy. And they are too distracted by bullshit to even get their act together to have a coherent position on issues in the Middle East. There is also a boy-who-cried-wolf component to the Republicans’ impotence. They spent so much time talking about Benghazi that they missed the part where Libya became an ungovernable shithole. And who would lend their criticisms any credibility at this point, after they have been wrong about everything in the region for more than a decade?

It’s kind of stunning to see the neo-conservatives so isolated and impotent. But they certainly earned their fate.

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