Are the Obama administration's policy failures in the Middle East a random series of errors by an incompetent leadership, or does some grand idea stand behind the pattern? I answer this question in "The Obama Doctrine."
Which articles, blog posts, speeches, and interviews on my web site, DanielPipes.org, fared best in the year recently concluded? In ascending order, here are 2015's ten most widely read, listened-to, and watched pages.
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10. Middle East Provocations and Predictions (Sep. 9)
A survey of critical Middle East issues: the Iranian nuclear buildup, ISIS, Erdoğan's Turkey, the Saudi monarchy, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Islamism, and Israel.
9. What Actually Causes American Fear of Islam and Muslims? (Feb. 13)
A critique of Fear, Inc. 2.0: The Islamophobia Network's Efforts to Manufacture Hate in America, an 81-page report from the leftist Center for American Progress (CAP). It lists me as part of "a well-funded, well-organized" movement determined to "intentionally spread lies" about Muslims and "erode America's core values of religious pluralism, civil rights, and social inclusion." To which, I reply: thanks for the credit but Americans fear Islam and Muslims not because of us analysts but because of daily news about Islamist violence and cultural aggression.
8. About Those 14 "Muslim-American Leaders" Who Met with Obama (Feb. 10)
The participants in President Obama's closed-door February 4 meeting with a domestic group of Muslims are almost all "Islamists while not a single anti-Islamist made the cut," suggesting the meeting's real purpose was to "protect his standing among his Islamist constituency."
7. How Israel Might Destroy Iran's Nuclear Program (July 16)
Israeli forces can stop or slow the Iranian nuclear buildup in three different ways: conventional air attack, special ops, or nuclear attack. I predict that Jerusalem will try special ops first, then air attack, then (if all else fails) nuclear attack.
6. Interview with Michael Oren (June 24)
A transcript (with embedded video) of my in-depth interview at the Free Library of Philadelphia with Israel's ambassador to the United States in 2009-13. Oren argues that two "pillars" of U.S.-Israeli relations have weakened dangerously under the Obama administration: "no surprises" (prior consultation before "major new policy position on issues related to the Middle East and Israel's security") and "no daylight" (keeping differences "behind closed doors, not display[ing] them in public").
5. Does Europe Have No-go Zones? (Jan. 20)
The statement by Steven Emerson that there are predominantly Muslim "no-go" zones in Europe where governments "don't exercise any sovereignty ... where the police don't go in" is incorrect. In fact, all West European states can intervene anywhere and at any time in their sovereign territory. The problem is that they "often choose not to impose their will on Muslim-majority areas."
4. Sweden's Populist Surge (Aug. 26)
The political climate in Sweden has shifted as a result of Muslim immigration and attendant problems, most notably with the rise of the anti-establishment Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna or SD). Discussion of the hard-headed, flexible responses needed to cope with current problems the country now faces has gone mainstream.
3. Decoding the Obama Doctrine (April 6)
The Obama administration's foreign policy is guided by one overarching principle: "Warm relations with adversaries and cool them with friends." This is premised on the belief that 1) the U.S. government must morally compensate for past mistakes, 2) being friendly to hostile states will inspire them to reciprocate, and 3) using force creates more problems than it solves.
2. The Middle East Runs out of Water (May 8)
The Middle East is going dry due to such maladies as population growth, short-sighted dictators, distorted economic incentives, and infrastructure-destroying warfare. Israel provides the sole exception to this tale of woe, thanks to a combination of conservation, recycling, innovative agricultural techniques, and high-tech desalination.
1. Why the Paris Massacre Will Have Limited Impact (Nov. 17)
The murder of 127 Parisians four days earlier will have a limited impact on policy. While Islamist terror attacks prompt ordinary citizens to want tougher measures, "unrelenting violence has a contrary effect" on the four P's of the Establishment – politicians, the police, the press, and the professors; they "feel compelled to pretend that Islam has no role in the violence, in part out of concern that to recognize it would cause even more problems."
(The statistics above concern only DanielPipes.org, not postings, for example, at National Review Online or the Washington Times) To put this information in context, the #1 most-accessed page of 2015 ranks about #175 on my all-time accessed pages, coming in far behind those that have been posted for years. The website as a whole logged 4 million page visits in 2015, up from 3.6 million in 2014. Since 2000, it has had 72 million page visits.
Comment: I never have any idea what will take off and what will lag. It's each time a surprise. Same with tweets.
Daniel Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.