The absence of any U.S. deterrent role to counter the violation of international norms and standards by the Iranian mullahs have given the Islamic regime the tranquility of living out its dream of regional hegemony and the ability to have its forces dominate Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. These countries are Arabic territories that over time have started to undergo the influence of Shiite regime in Iran. How was the Arab world, which constitutes the vast majority of regional Sunnis, supposed to react to all this? Of course they were not going to stay silent and as the war in Syria has shown, their Sunni extremists were fostered to get into the fight with the Shiite-supported regime of Assad. But then the war in the country started to expand as other groups of Islamic extremists from every corner of the world joined the clashes against the IRI proxies Hezbollah and the Shiite fundamentalists, turning the Syria into a bloodbath hell, which soon started to spill over into the neighboring countries. Early support for the Syrian genuine oppositions at the beginning of uprising could have prevented the current crisis and result in with not only the removal of Assad from power but establishment of a secular democratic government in the country.
There is no question that the current wide spread crisis in the Middle East has been the result of the Obama administration’s inaction policy in the region. The problem with U.S. wait-&-watch policy is that the sectarian war won’t wind up with one’s side victory over another but most probably the Sunni and Shiite extremists could compromise over who gain control of what territory after dividing the region into smaller areas, which will then become terrorist states. Such situations are already imminent developments in Syria and Iraq. Regardless, could such a scenario that violates every global norm and standard be acceptable to the West in particular United States? Could the humanity continue its normal operation alongside dangerous rouge states, whose spread to other areas of the world are just a matter of time? Unless the world has already accepted the start of a universal war, the answer would simply be a big NO.
United States dependency on Middle East oil may have been reduced due to its looming prospect of energy self-sufficiency, yet for geopolitical purposes U.S. needs to keep its presence in the region. The question that we have to ask ourselves is that is it logical to assume that U.S. administration with so many intelligence offices from NSA to CIA along with its hundreds of think-tank centers all over the nation couldn’t initially predict the current Middle East situation in advance? It is naïve to presume that they really had no clue of what was going to happen in the region. On the contrary, the bitter truth is that the U.S. administration has had complete awareness of the situation in the region and actually knew what is going to happen in those territories and by choosing the inaction policy calculatedly let that to happen. Several determinative elements were in the Obama’s calculation to make such choice of strategy, among which, the lack of public support for another war, sequestration and its impact on defense budget resulting in military shortcomings, and the cast of his Nobel Peace Prize’s spell to hold him as a President of peace, are few to mention. However the sectarian war among Shiite and Sunni extremists has given Obama an incentive to stay inactive and make use of wait-&-watch policy and let them do the dirty job of plowing the region for him, which is a prerequisite for the new blueprint of the greater Middle East map per U.S. foreign policy. When the terrorist threat level gets red alert in the region the U.S. and perhaps NATO will ultimately intervene in the Middle East but for now they allow the evil forces of terrorists be engaged in purging one another. [DID]
There’s always Tunisia. Amid the smoking ruins of the Middle East, there is that one encouraging success story. But unfortunately for the Obama narratives, the president had about as much as to do with Tunisia’s turn toward democracy as he did with the World Cup rankings. Where administration policy has had an impact, the story is one of failure and danger.
The Middle East that Obama inherited in 2009 was largely at peace, for the surge in Iraq had beaten down the al Qaeda-linked groups. U.S. relations with traditional allies in the Gulf, Jordan, Israel and Egypt were very good. Iran was contained, its Revolutionary Guard forces at home. Today, terrorism has metastasized in Syria and Iraq, Jordan is at risk, the humanitarian toll is staggering, terrorist groups are growing fast and relations with U.S. allies are strained.
How did it happen? Begin with hubris: The new president told the world, in his Cairo speech in June 2009, that he had special expertise in understanding the entire world of Islam—knowledge “rooted in my own experience” because “I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed.” Read more…
The United States has spent more than five years doing nothing in nearly every world crisis. Without U.S. leadership, the post-Cold War order has crumbled. Everyone, from the most brutal dictator Bashar Assad and the extreme apocalyptic mullahs in Iran to obvious master organizer Putin, rushed to fill the void U.S. left behind.
There was no reaction from U.S., other than Obama’s rhetoric redlines, to the massacre of Syrian people by Bashar Assad who used conventional and chemical weapons. Such U.S. foreign policy further bolstered Assad to the point where he illegally renews his presidency for another 7 year. Obama claiming to have a policy of preventing Iran form acquiring a nuclear weapon, however repeatedly relaxing the conditions. Whenever Iran approaches the threshold, the U.S. sets a new, less stringent threshold; Obama’s red line on Iran keeps getting pinker and pinker every day, soon he will have no other choice but to accept the nuclear-armed mullahs. Obama’s inaction and his lack of serious involvement in Ukraine crisis staged by Putin’s ambition for revival of Soviet empire, has left United States, the world’s wealthiest nation with the world’s strongest army, short of any good option.
As it has been repeatedly said before, it’s hard to see that Obama’s foreign policy leading anywhere but nowhere, and unfortunately no serious course of correction can nearly be foreseen. [DID]
According to multiple reliable sources, on Air Force One during President Barack Obama’s recent Asia trip, he spent some time talking with his traveling press corps about his approach to foreign policy. He was defensive and, by one account, “fuming.” He felt that the criticism of his approach was unfair. He had clear ideas about how to manage America’s global interests. In his own words, they centered on asingle concept: “Don’t do stupid shit.”
In fact, after making this point, he reportedly stood up, headed forward toward his own cabin on the plane, and then stopped. He turned back to the gathered reporters, and, much like an elementary school teacher hammering rote learning into students, he said, “So what is my foreign policy?” The reporters, in unison, then said, “Don’t do stupid shit.”
It’s painful watching the YouTube video of President Obama in Manila last week talking about hitting singles and doubles in foreign policy. Everything he says is measured, and most of it is correct. But he acts as if he’s talking to a rational world, as opposed to one inhabited by leaders such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
In the realm of power politics, American presidents don’t get points for being right but for being (or appearing) strong. Read more…
U.S. foreign policy is in troubling disarray. The result is unwelcome news for the world, which largely depends upon the United States to promote order in the absence of any other country able and willing to do so. And it is bad for the United States, which cannot insulate itself from developments beyond its borders.
If success has many fathers, it turns out that so, too, does disarray. The Administration of George W. Bush overreached in Iraq and (along with the Federal Reserve Board and Congress) under-regulated the financial sector in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis. Congress should also be held accountable for the sequester Read more…
In the spring of 2012, The National Interest produced a special issue under the rubric of “The Crisis of the Old Order: The Crumbling Status Quo at Home and Abroad .”The thesis was that the old era of relative global stability, forged through the crucibles of the Great Depression and World War II, was coming unglued. In introducing the broad topic to readers, TNI editors wrote, “Only through a historical perspective can we fully understand the profound developments of our time and glean, perhaps only dimly, where they are taking us. One thing is clear: they are taking us into a new era. The only question is how much disruption, chaos and bloodshed will attend the transition from the Old Order to whatever emerges to replace it.” Read more…
Street protests are in. From Bangkok to Caracas, and Madrid to Moscow, these days not a week goes by without news that a massive crowd has amassed in the streets of another of the world’s big cities. The reasons for the protests vary (bad and too-costly public transport or education, the plan to raze a park, police abuse, etc.). Often, the grievance quickly expands to include a repudiation of the government, or its head, or more general denunciations of corruption and economic inequality.
Aerial photos of the anti-government marches routinely show an intimidating sea of people furiously demanding change. And yet, it is surprising how little these crowds achieve. The fervent political energy on the ground is hugely disproportionate to the practical results of these demonstrations. Read more…
Our allies and our enemies have seriously recalculated where the U.S. stands. It was not difficult to define American geopolitical strategy over the seven decades following World War II — at least until 2009. It was largely bipartisan advocacy, most ambitiously, for nations to have the freedom of adopting constitutional governments that respected human rights, favored free markets, and abided by the rule of law. And at the least, we sought a world in which states could have any odious ideology they wished as long as they kept it within their own borders. There were several general strategic goals as we calculated our specific aims, both utopian and realistic.
(1) The strategic cornerstone was the protection of a small group of allies that, as we did, embraced consensual government and free markets, and were more likely to avoid human-rights abuses. That eventually meant partnerships with Western and later parts of Eastern Europe, Great Britain, and much of its former Empire, such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. In Asia, the American focus was on Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan. The U.S. military essentially guaranteed the security of these Asian nations, and they developed safely, shielded from Soviet or Chinese Communist aggression, and more recently from Russian or Chinese provocations. Read more…
The Roosevelt administration once talked loudly of pivoting to Asia to thwart a rising Japan. As a token of its seriousness, in May 1940 it moved the home port of the Seventh Fleet from San Diego to Pearl Harbor — but without beefing up the fleet’s strength.
The then-commander of the Pacific Fleet, Admiral James O. Richardson, an expert on the Japanese Imperial Navy, protested vehemently over such a reckless redeployment. He felt that the move might invite, but could not guard against, surprise attack.
Richardson was eventually relieved of his command and his career was ruined — even as he was later proved right when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Britain at the same time promoted a loud Singapore Strategy, trumpeting its Malaysian base as the “Gibraltar of the Pacific.” But London did not send out up-to-date planes, carriers, or gunnery to the Pacific.
Carter had come into office in 1977 promising a new American stance abroad predicated on human rights. He bragged of an end to our supposedly inordinate fear of Soviet-inspired Communism. He entertained the hope of not losing a single American soldier in combat during his tenure. And he rejected the realpolitik of the Nixon-Kissinger years.
The State Department would end the excessive influence of the bellicose National Security Council. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance would put a kinder, gentler face on American diplomacy. We championed Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe over more moderate black reformers. We broke with the Shah of Iran, who fled his country in January 1979. We for a while praised the Ayatollah Khomeini and sought ways to reach out to him. Read more…
I call this unusual rally an extreme feminist protest by some intellectual ladies with Iron fists against the unjust Islamic codes towards womanhood, you go women! [DID]
A number of Arab and Iranian women staged an unusual protest in the Louvre Art Museum’s Square to call for equality and secularism on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, March 08, 2014. Tunisian activist Amina al-Souboui, Egyptian Alia al-Mahdi and five other Arab and Iranian women demonstrated fully naked and called, in French, for freedom, equality and secularism. Read more…
Why Putin, Assad, and their ilk are making chaos the new normal. Russia invades Ukraine. The United States responds with threats of unspecific “costs” Moscow will incur if it doesn’t reverse course. We offer Putin-esque photos of Obama in almost comically aggressive postures on a telephone call with the Russian leader. We threaten not to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to future summits of global big shots. NATO dispatches some of its elite corps of press release writers to offer up limp admonitions. And the U.S. president’s critics are left wondering aloud: Is this the weakest American president since Jimmy Carter? Or is it unfair to Carter to include him in that question? House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers illustrated the critique, suggesting that “Putin is playing chess” while “we’re playing marbles.”
Or alternatively, in the view of the president’s defenders, perhaps Barack Obama is just doing as much as a responsible president, respectful of his mandate and the current limitations on American power, can do. Read more…