More than a decade after the start of the war in Afghanistan, America continues to face significant challenges in the Middle East. While news of U.S. struggles often dominate foreign policy discussions, Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel says it is important to remember that the United States is also making progress in the region. From the death of Osama bin Laden to an agreement on the use of Afghan military bases for U.S. counterterrorism operations, America is learning from its past mistakes and using these lessons to guide its response to the Arab Spring.
I think it's unusual for the chief of staff to go on a trip, particularly on a trip this long. The chief of staff is usually more of a chief operating officer in the White House itself, and normally when your principal—whether it's the president himself or the head of Cabinet agency—goes abroad, you have his deputy and those folks staying behind to help manage operations in his absence.