With his coming visit to Saudi Arabia and new talks opening with Iran, President Obama can set the stage for reconciling the two Muslim giants over their historic Islamic rivalry.
The Obama administration had previously used 'dismantle' to describe a final deal on Iran's nuclear program, but this went down badly with Iran. Obama said he would veto any new sanctions.
The following regions and issues are among those critical to both short- and long-term US interests. They should draw greater US attention and diplomatic efforts.
While forging a peace deal that ensures the security of Israel and the dignity of the Palestinians is a worthy goal, it's a long shot. Secretary of State John Kerry's time would be better spent pursuing vital US interests in Africa, Asia, and the broader Middle East region.
But US military aid for Iraq should be contingent on evidence that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is reaching out to Sunnis, says former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Iraq's government is lately battling attacks from Al Qaeda-linked insurgents.
If direct talks between the Syrian regime and a main opposition group proceed, the goal should be to create a transitional power with legitimacy to hold elections. For now, a vacuum of legitimacy requires foreign pressure for an agreement.