The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, February 27, 2016


In an odd way, it's actually amusing to watch Barack Obama's pathetic attempt to burnish his "legacy" by stumbling toward the closure of Guantanamo Bay. His claim that Guantanamo is a recruitment tool for Islamic terrorists is demonstrably false; his release of hardened terrorists endangers lives all over the world, and his suggestion that the closure will save money is laughable, coming from a president who has increased the annual deficit by at least half a trillion dollars during every year he has been in office.

The true foreign policy "legacy" of the Obama presidency is best exemplified by the debacle that is now Syria. The German media outlet Der Spiegel dares to go where the trained hamsters in the US media will not tread (italics are mine):
The man who could answer many of these questions [about a direct confrontation between Russia and Turkey in Syria] is saying very little these days about Syria, despite the recent drama. In the past, Barack Obama has said that Assad must step down and he still refers to him as "a brutal, ruthless dictator." At the same time, though, Obama is doing nothing to counter him and there are no signs that he has anything up his sleeve either.

The New York Times recently wrote that it is difficult to distinguish between Putin's and Obama's Syria strategies. Meanwhile, historian and journalist Michael Ignatieff and Brookings Institution fellow Leon Wieseltier lamented in the Washington Post, "It's time for those who care about the moral standing of the United States to say that this policy is shameful."

It is very clear at this point that the US has no strategy beyond its half-hearted efforts to provide training and arms to rebels -- and to otherwise rely on negotiations. But none of this has born any fruit, as events in early February demonstrated.

Secretary of State Kerry worked for three months to get the warring parties to a negotiating table under the auspices of the United Nations -- moderate rebels, representatives of the regime, Iranians, Saudi Arabians and Russians. But Moscow then turned around and launched its offensive right as the talks began. Within 48 hours, the Russian air force carried out 320 airstrikes in northern Syria alone. It was no coincidence that the storm on Aleppo began at that exact moment. The aim was that of destroying any possibility that the opposition would have a say in Syria's future.

"All sides were aware that a continuation of the talks would become increasingly difficult for the opposition as the regime intensified its military offensive," diplomats in Geneva said. After two days, the UN mediator Staffan de Mistura suspended talks. Right now, it doesn't look as though the opposition will be prepared to return to Geneva on Feb. 25 as planned. And why should they?
Obama's phony red line and the message it projected, his feckless behavior relative to Syria in general and ISIS in particular, and the weakness projected by his inaction have lead to a catastrophe in which million of Muslims are leaving the region in a slow motion invasion of Western Europe.

Obama's foreign policy legacy (supported, I might add, by Hillary Clinton) is the debacle in Syria, chaos and instability throughout the Middle East, a weakening of our relationship with Israel and Egypt, and a strengthening of Russia's and Iran's position in the region. No wonder he's trying so hard to focus on Guantanamo.