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Barack Obama and Iraq – Cool Calculations

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The bloodbath in Syria initially began with peaceful protests at the end of January 2011. U.S. could have acted to shape the Syrian opposition into an effective force to prevail. Direct intervention then was neither necessary nor desirable. The cost of assisting Assad’s opponents with logistic and strategic support at the beginning would have been minimal compare to the accumulating cost of American inaction. Obama’s foreign policy of leading from behind meant nothing more than leaving behind the desperate Syrian people in the middle of an unequal fight, making them to turn elsewhere for help and wind up beholden to and manipulated by many adversary groups and States to U.S.

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As a result today we witness the ISIS terrorist group in Syria is spilling over into Iraq, turning the country into a civil war. That has been the result of Obama’s “Watch and Wait” policy. The scenario is repeating again but this time in Iraq, once more we hear the same old stuff from White House and the administration that US will not interfere in Iraq but provide humanitarian assistance for the refugees and displaced people and perhaps delivering some material support. What would be the result? Iranian mullahs will send their terrorist IRGC militias into Iraq to get into the fight against the ISIS group and safeguard the security of the Shiite Shrines. Soon the war in Iraq will escalate and spill over into the neighboring countries that can easily develop into a regional war.

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One way to see how all this has happened is to blame the inaction policy of the West led by US, but I personally don’t see it that way. I don’t think that the West is that naive to shoot itself in the foot; I believe this has been the result of a carefully plotted master plan by the West to make the regional adversary groups and States to unknowingly do their dirty job of plowing the region by manipulating and engineering sectarian conflicts among them, Sunni blocs against the Shiite factions. The prerequisite for implementing the blueprint for redrawing the new borderlines in Middle East requires chaos and anarchy in the territory, collapsed civilizations, and fallen States, and that is exactly where the region is heading to. [DID]

AVOIDING aggressive questions is a hallmark of the White House press corps. So it should be no surprise that reporters watching President Barack Obama make an emergency statement on Iraq on June 13th  failed to pelt him with the queries that lurk at the center of the debate over America’s role in the Middle East. Namely: Mr President, did you help to bring these horrors about when you rushed to pull American combat troops out of Iraq as quickly as possible? And, Mr President, does any part of you regret ignoring pleas to arm and train non-extreme opposition forces across the border in Syria over the past two years?

Instead reporters allowed Mr Obama to explain why American involvement in Iraq would be limited, would take “several days” to be sent, would not involve any return of ground troops and was conditional on Iraq’s central government coming up with a “sincere” political plan to resolve sectarian divisions. “We can’t do it for them,” Mr Obama said severely.

“Nobody has an interest in seeing terrorists gain a foothold inside of Iraq and nobody is going to benefit from seeing Iraq descend into chaos. The United States will do our part,” he added. “But understand that ultimately it’s up to the Iraqis, as a sovereign nation, to solve their problems.”

Yet is that enough? Does such cool rationality from the global policeman make the world more dangerous? The question of Mr Obama’s caution and hyper-realism (some would say cynicism) underpins everything. Foes and friends listen to Mr Obama. Then they then watch violent men harness ethnic, sectarian and nationalist hatreds to challenge the international order, seemingly with impunity. Finally, enemies and allies alike wonder: does the world feel this volatile because Mr Obama has signaled America is so reluctant to intervene?

But nobody asked Mr Obama whether what is happening in Iraq or Syria is his fault, in any way. As the president stood in the summer sunshine, his Marine One helicopter visible behind him, waiting to carry him to a speech about education and poverty-reduction on a Sioux reservation in North Dakota, reporters instead asked him to analyse the situation.

Which he did. The president is an intelligent, rational and rigorous observer of global horrors. And he is often eloquent in his assessment of why it is folly to think such problems can be easily or reliably solved by military means alone. Asked about the sight of Iraqi army units abandoning their posts in the face of smaller enemy forces, Mr Obama made a good point. If Iraqi troops were not “willing to stand and fight” against the militant attackers, that points to a “problem in terms of morale” and commitment that reflects political divisions in the country. He expressed fears of worsening violence should Sunni insurgents overrun Shi’ite sacred sites in the country.

His observations were sound. And here is the frustrating thing about reporting on this president’s worldview. In and of itself, his cool, cerebral analysis is often more rational and less hypocritical than the criticism raining down on him from his political opponents.

Republicans in Washington, knowing full well that voters have precisely no appetite for a return to Iraq, content themselves with accusing the president of allowing the world to fall apart and emboldening wicked men and dangerous foes through a lack of attention and “weakness”. By this they seem to mean that Mr Obama should stop saying that American force may not be capable of fixing the world. They do not mean that they actually want Mr Obama to do anything with American force.

Thus the most senior elected Republican in Washington, John Boener, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, criticized the president on June 12th for watching terrorists seize growing swathes of Iraq, adding: “And what is the president doing? Taking a nap!” Mr Boehner chided Mr Obama for failing to reach an agreement that would have allowed large numbers of American troops to stay in Iraq after 2011. He urged the president to “get engaged” in Iraq before it was too late.

What American forces would be doing in Iraq, were Republicans in control, is anybody’s guess. Mr Boehner murmured on June 12th about providing kit and technical assistance to the Iraqi government. He declined to say whether America should launch air strikes. Even the hawk’s hawk, Senator John McCain of Arizona, says he does not want ground troops sent back to Iraq, though he would like Mr Obama’s national-security team fired.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a putative White House contender in 2016, spoke for the Republican party’s non-interventionist wing, declaring the situation a “really confusing mess” and musing aloud: “You could even go back ten years and say, you know what, it might have been a little more stable when we had that awful guy [Saddam] Hussein, who hated the Iranians.”

Democrats, such as Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, content themselves with denouncing Republicans for failing to acknowledge that they once cheered George W Bush into war with Iraq. Republican “cheerleaders for the disastrous war in Iraq are now joining the blame-America-first crowd rather than working with our Commander-in-Chief to confront this crisis,” she says.

In short, the woeful level of Washington debate allows Mr Obama to explain why the world is complicated, and why this is mostly for others to fix. It permits his opponents to talk vaguely about “weakness” and the need for leadership, without spelling out what that might mean—let alone what they might support by way of air strikes, arms transfers and so on.

Should America change course? Are there dangers to Mr Obama’s hyper-realist foreign policies? What if others seem incapable of fixing problems that threaten American interests? Those would be better topics for debate, but would involve challenging the overwhelming (and understandable) desire of Americans to avoid fresh entanglements. Thus, within the Washington bubble, they are not voiced.

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The Economics –  American Democracy

June 13, 2014

Related link – http://tinyurl.com/ob4ukpw

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