“The United States has pulled more staff out of its embassy in Yemen, U.S. officials said on Thursday as Washington scrambled to cope with the collapse of a government that had been a key ally in the fight against al Qaeda,” Reuters reports. Unlike Benghazi, “At least this time there has been an evacuation of some American personnel,” Ed Morrissey responds:
The problem is that you can’t have both a “light footprint” strategy on counterterrorism and a project to overturn the governments in the region at the same time. Obama derided George Bush’s strategy in Iraq, but at least Bush understood that much — that you have to control the ground after a forced regime change and stick around long enough to make sure the pieces come together properly. Libya proved the folly of “light footprint” regime change dramatically in 2011-12, but this White House didn’t learn the lesson then, and as late as September of last year kept insisting that these strategies were great successes for Obama. The evacs tell a much different story, especially to the radicals in the Middle East. They see an America on the retreat — and right now, that’s not an unrealistic picture.
But do Obama and John Kerry, he of the recurring Vietnam flashbacks, view that as a bad thing?
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Incidentally, here’s a future evac that really is worth imagining. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one:
Related: More from Jonathan Spyer at PJM: “Yemen Joins List of Collapsed Mideast States.”