Monday, September 26, 2011

Two broadsides at Obama's foreign policy

from the Yamato and the Musashi ... er, Barry Rubin and Michael Ledeen:

First, Rubin:
I accuse President Barack Obama of Destroying Western Interests in the Middle East, Helping Destabilize the Region, and Putting Millions of Lives in Jeopardy.
Careful.  You might be called (gasp!) uncivil.
Do you think that’s extremist, crazy, can’t be true because you’re not seeing that stuff in the New York Times? You must be a right-wing Republican, you say?
No, just a serious Middle East analyst.

The tenth anniversary of September 11, almost three years after Obama’s election, is a suitable time to confront this issue honestly and fully. So consider fairly and honestly the list of points below.
Read it all and weep.  Then check out Ledeen:
That there is little room for reality at the highest levels of the administration is all too obvious. The president’s public statements are repeatedly off key, responding to imaginary events rather than real ones, and sometimes totally dissonant, as when he gave a speech about jobs at a company that was closing down, or in his increasingly odd and incoherent efforts in foreign policy. For example, consider these amazing lines from a story by Helene Cooper in the New York Times, concerning administration planning for Syria after the now-anticipated fall of Bashar Assad:
…the Obama administration has begun to make plans for American policy in the region after he exits.
In coordination with Turkey, the United States has been exploring how to deal with the possibility of a civil war among Syria’s Alawite, Druse, Christian and Sunni sects, a conflict that could quickly ignite other tensions in an already volatile region.
As Ms. Cooper explains, these explorations are driven by a desire to avoid repetition of the Bush administration’s errors in Iraq, where the United States did not adequately prepare for what came after the successful invasion of the country. A laudable goal, although the description of what happened in Iraq is typically misguided (there was no civil war; Syria and Iran supported a guerrilla war against the allied coalition), and the list of potential fighters in Syria surprisingly omits the Kurds, arguably the most important of all because they are a major factor in Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. But it is the four words “in coordination with Turkey” that demonstrate the extent to which wishful thinking has trumped reality in the Obama White House, for the Turks are hardly ideal allies in the Middle East these days — they are seeking to establish their own hegemony — and as long as he is in that dangerous frame of mind, Erdogan is a totally unsuitable partner. [...]

Worse yet, Obama isn’t actively trying to help the victims of the mass murder in Syria, let alone bring down Assad, despite his proclamation that  “Assad must go.”  He is simply reading tea leaves, trying to avoid looking like an imperialist, and hoping to be able to take credit if anything good should happen.
But what if nothing good does happen?  What if Assad wins?
Not an entirely optimistic take, but read it all.

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