America's top priority abroad is to protect its citizens and interests, whether they are soldiers on a battlefield or diplomats and their families. Embassies have always been seen as potential targets, so closing them temporarily can be a prudent move to prevent a more serious incident, such as the attack in Benghazi, or previous attacks in Nairobi in 1998 or Iran in 1979.
But what the U.S. has done comes with a cost, Crowley says. Extremist chatrooms have shown some gloating, but the miltants also haven't achieved their ultimate objective of carrying out an attack.
"And no one is talking about leaving the Middle East," he adds.