After Israel's "foolish, violent handling of the Gaza flotilla incident," says Michael Young in the Beirut, Lebanon, Daily Star, the political landscape in the Middle East looks much bleaker from an American perspective. Israel's becoming increasingly isolated, America's Arab allies are growing weaker, and its enemies — Iran, Syria, Hamas — are getting bolder. With the Israeli-Palestinian peace process stymied, Young says, Obama has to come up with a new way to defend America's interests in the Middle East. Here, an excerpt:

"So what is Washington to do? For starters, it has to reach realistic conclusions about where Palestinian-Israeli negotiations are heading. If a settlement is a strategic imperative, then Obama must use all the tools at his disposal to bring about an agreement, including withholding credit guarantees to Israel. But if he won’t do so (and such a step would probably just harden Israeli rejection of American conditions while provoking outrage in Congress), then it’s time to put peace negotiations on the backburner and focus on consolidating American power elsewhere to address the main threat to the status quo in the Middle East: the emergence of a nuclear Iran."

Read the full article in the Beirut Daily Star.