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

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Killing

Through this week, the Obama campaign is celebrating the one year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden. The President does deserve credit for making the decision to approve the mission, but it's only fair to note that the intelligence operations and planning the led up to the mission had been ongoing for more than 8 years, and that the credit for the "kill" really should go to the intelligence analysts who found bin laden and the Navy Seal team that did the deed. But no matter, when things go bad, it's the President who gets the blame, so this President has every right to take the credit when things go well.

The problem is that the bin Laden kill is just about the only thing that has gone well in the Middle East during the President's first term. His foreign policy and decision making in the region have been highly suspect, and the results are ... well ... awful. William R. Jacabson summarizes:
North Africa is or is on the way to domination by radical Islamists. We pushed Mubarak out without any transition, and the Muslim Brotherhood and even more extreme Islamists are nearing control. The same is true in Libya and Tunisia.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban are resurgent, waiting out Obama’s timeline for withdrawal. In Iraq, the Iranians have extended their influence and the nation again is dividing along sectarian lines, with the unifying factor (except among the Kurds) being hostility to the U.S.

In Syria, where for once we could have dealt a crushing blow to Iranian influence, we have helped Bashar Assad hang onto power to the extent that both sides hate us.

Our one true ally in the region, Israel, is in its most precarious position in decades, surrounded by massive Iranian-backed missile bases in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria.

There is almost nowhere in the Middle East that the United State is better off than it was four years ago.
Like his domestic policy, Obama's foreign policy in the Middle East has been incompetent and ineffective. His efforts to reach out to our enemies has been perceived as weakness throughout the region, emboldening some of the bad actors that reside there. His ham-handed attempts at balance in the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation have set back any attempt at compromise and increased the probability of war. His naive support for the Arab spring has contributed to an Islamist takeover in almost every country that "revolted." And his ambivalence to the true slaughter in Syria has countenanced a human rights disaster.

So yeah, the President did good when he approved the killing of Osama. But the rest, not so much.