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

Friday, November 08, 2013

Historic Proportions

Barack Obama's foreign policy has been the subject of many of my blog posts over the past five years. If you look at some of the highlights, the reality of his efforts begins to become all too clear.

In Iran: In 2010, the people or Iran rose up in the "green revolution" an effort to change their government. Millions marched in the streets. Barack Obama was eerily silent during what could have been a sea change moment for a country. He provident absolutely no help to the dissidents and allowed the brutal Islamist government to crush them.

In Egypt: The President advocated the overthrow of the American ally and dictator Hosni Mubarek, encouraged the formation of a government headed by the Muslim Brotherhood, a group of Islamist thugs, was neutral when the Islamist dictator Morsi was overthrown by the military, and then cut aid becuase the Military did what they had to do. In the process, he alienated the Egyptian people. Today, Egypt is on a knife edge, close to chaos.

In Libya: Obama's lead from behind strategy resulted in the fit-and-starts overthrow of Libyan strongman Mohammar Kadaffi. With no follow-up, Kadaffi was replaced by armed gangs and al Qaeda and Libya has now devolved into chaos. As if to punctuate this disaster, a US ambassador was killed in Benghazi, while the administration made mendacious claims about the cause. The scandal still simmers to this day.

In Syria: The President awkwardly established a "red line," then told us that a humanitarian disaster was occurring, that military intervention was a necessity, until it wasn't. Outplayed by Russia's Vladim Putin, Obama quickly caved, suggesting to both allies and foes that his "red lines" are meaningless.

In Mexico: Obama's attorney general authorized a gun smuggling scheme called "fast and furious" that imported weapons into Mexico that were later used to kill many Mexicans and a US federal agent. The resulting scandal was stonewalled successfully with the help of Obama's trained hamsters in the media.

In North Korea: Absolutely no progress and continuing belligerence from the puppet kingdom.

In Russia: Tensions have escalated during Obama's presidency and it's fairly obvious that Russian strongman, Vladimir Putin, has little respect for Barack Obama.

In Israel: The president and his secretary of state, Hilary Clinton, dissed Israeli prime minister Bibi Netanyahu in a number of different ways, leaked information about secret Israeli military operations, and hypocritically condemned Israeli settlements just outside the country's capital in Jerusalem. Then, with good feeling in the air, Obama tried to reignite flawed "peace talks" between the palestinians and Israelis knowing full well that they were doomed to failure. He put a variety of different kinds of pressure on the Israels and patted the heads of Palestinian leaders. Nothing will come of this effort.

Among our other Allies: The NSA scandal has alienated virtually every ally from Germany to France to Brazil.

There's plenty more, but I hope you get the point -- Barack Obama's foreign is a study in incompetence, lack of focus, and fecklessness.

And now The New York Times tells us:
GENEVA — After years of fruitless negotiations, Western and Iranian diplomats are on the verge of an agreement that would freeze Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for an easing of some economic sanctions.

Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to travel here on Friday at the invitation of Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, in an effort “to help narrow differences,” a senior State Department official said. If that goes well, the pact could be announced later in the day, Iranian officials said.

But even as the two sides tried to finalize the agreement on Thursday, fissures have widened between the United States and some of its principal allies over the potential pact, which has been hailed by the Obama administration as a possible breakthrough in the standoff over Iran’s nuclear aspirations but dismissed by critics as a temporizing measure that would leave the core of Tehran’s atomic program intact.
There's little doubt that Obama's trained hamsters in the media will hail this as a major foreign policy achievement, just as they fawned over Obama's "achievements" in Egypt, Libya, and even Syria (see above if you've already forgotten the reality of those "achievements."). In actuality, an Iran "deal" is much closer to Bibi Netanyahu's characterization -- a mistake of historic proportions.

There is one thing that Barack Obama is reasonably consistent about— he does not learn from his mistakes and bad decisions. As a consequence, he is doomed to repeat them. The only problem with that is that we are all doomed to live with the results.

Update (11/9/13):

It is sadly ironic that so many Jewish-Americans have been ardent Obama supporters, arguing against all rational evidence that he is a friend of staunch US ally Israel. Now we learn that sanctions against Iran are to be dropped for undefined "concessions." Israel's prime minister has indicated that any "nuclear deal" with Iran represents an existential threat to his country. Richard Fernandez comments:
The administration’s strategy towards Iran — secretly suspending sanctions while putting the onus on Israel to make concessions — is, whatever you may think of it, a very high risk proposition. It sets up a brittle situation. If the president cannot come up with a deal the region can ultimately live with; if he simply comes up with the international version of Obamacare, or the regional version of Syria; in other words if he exhibits exactly the same competence in this that he’s exhibited all his life then the system will break.

The system will break because his made-for-television solution will fail ...

The fundamental problem with Obama’s Iranian policy, which was crafted insofar as I can tell, as a direct reaction to his Syrian blunder, is that it bets the farm on a long shot. Iran will not stop in its march to the bomb because it has more to gain by it than it can ever lose to Obama. The problem for everyone, not just Bibi, is what to do when the dice come up Snake Eyes.
But here's the thing. In the foreign policy realm, Barack Obama and his team of ideological incompetents have rolled snake eyes repeatedly—in Iran, in Egypt, in Libya, in Syria, and even in Israel. As Fernandez notes, it appears that Obama is not driven by pragmatic diplomacy, but rather by the cynical political effort to salvage his disastrous foreign policy failures.

The further irony is that the president professes to be in favor of nuclear de-escalation throughout the world. His "deal" with Iran will accomplish the exact opposite. Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapons (and that is exactly what will happen if a "deal" is struck) will lead to an arms race throughout the Middle East. Already, Saudi Arabia has been reported in talks with Pakistan to acquire nukes to protect itself from Iran.

Snake eyes--over and over again.