The Atlantic

Obama: Reaching Out to Adversaries, Alienating Allies

The president has tried to tell friends hard truths. What if those friends don’t listen?
Source: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters

As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama promised to embrace America’s allies and extend a hand to its adversaries. As president, he has made remarkable progress in engaging longtime foes, restoring relations with Cuba and negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran. But the same can’t be said for all the country’s traditional friends. Obama certainly strengthened alliances with Western European nations turned off by George W. Bush, and worked closely with other countries to fight ISIS and reduce climate change. But on his watch ties have frayed with several countries previously considered U.S. partners, including Egypt, Israel, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. The bitter back-and-forth this week between U.S. and Israeli leaders on Israel’s settlement policy is just one illustration of this trend.

These ties have frayed in part because of events outside

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