President Obama has now fought his last election and no longer needs to submit himself and his accomplishments to the voters. Accordingly, all bets are off as to how far the president will push his foreign policy agenda on Iran, Russia, the Palestinians and Israel, and Islamist regimes in general. Perhaps there will be even more open U.S. outreach to Hamas, and perhaps American diplomats will soon get their wish to sit-down with Hezbollah.
Today, Frank Ricciardone, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, announced that Obama’s first trip of his second term will be to Turkey, a country which has witnessed under its increasingly Islamist government an unprecedented roll back of basic freedoms. The Turks are looking at Obama’s choice as an endorsement. They are probably right. On top of this, Ricciardone’s announcement comes right after Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that he would soon travel to Gaza, in recognition and support of Hamas.
Votes matter. How ironic it is, therefore, that Obama chooses to embrace most those governments and entities where they don’t.