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

Monday, March 23, 2015


On September 12, 2014,  Barack Obama told the nation that Yemen was one of his administration's success stories, that his vaunted anti-terrorism strategy is "one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years." Obama and his Team of 2s were happy to provide Yemen's security forces with $500 million in new military equipment, because ... well ... things were working out so well, weren't they?

Fast forward seven months. The Yemeni government, the same government that Obama called a success story, has been overrun by Iranian sponsored Islamist group, the Houthis. The American embassy was evacuated and a few days ago, we removed 100 special forces operators because the situation on the ground was too dangerous — for special forces guys!! Boy, that is a real indicator of "success," isn't it?

Meanwhile, CBS News reports:
Nick Rasmussen, who directs the National Counterterrorism Center, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Yemen's American-funded army failed to oppose advancing Houthi rebels in the same way the U.S.-supported Iraqi military refused to fight Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants last year.

What happened in Iraq with the onslaught of ISIS "happened in Yemen" on "a somewhat smaller scale," he said. "As the Houthi advances toward Sanaa took place... they weren't opposed in many places.... The situation deteriorated far more rapidly than we expected."
Gosh, whether it's ISIS in Iraq, the disintegration of Libya, or the fall of Yemen (to name just a few), it seems that we're experiencing so much Obama foreign policy "success" it's beginning to become troubling.

Richard Fernandez comments:
Trying to make sense of Barack Obama’s foreign policy has become something like a branch of Kremlinology. Opinions vary between whether the president has either cleverly set Iran against Riyadh [in Yemen] or he has let loose all the devils in hell. Early in February, Michael Doran “a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former senior director of the National Security Council” wrote a long paper trying to make sense of Obama’s strategy only to reach the conclusion that the president’s objectives are secret.

Doran tried to posit a framework consistent with the administration’s puzzling actions. At the end of his long analysis, which elicited responses from Eliot Abrams and a host of other foreign policy names, Obama’s goals seemed just as much a mystery as ever. I can hardly add to the observations of these distinguished scholars, except to suggest that the puzzle arises from the lack of any apparent numeraire, which is a fancy economic word for some means of keeping score.

There’s no score keeping system in which Obama is making points unless that scoring system is secret and we’re just too dumb to figure it out.

Losing Iraq, Libya, Yemen; being humiliated by Assad; and having the Taliban call the tune seems to matter not a whit to the president. Like the Black Knight in the Monty Python movie who can endure having his limbs lopped off, these events are apparently costless to the president, who serenely proclaims himself as “winning” every round though nobody knows what the game is; nobody that is, except him.
Leftists correctly point out that during the Bush years neo-cons developed a foreign policy that failed because they assumed—incorrectly—that they could build democracies in Muslim countries with opposing Sunni and Shia factions, rampant corruption, and a clear anti-democratic culture. They were wrong, but they did clearly state their goal and could be measured against it.

Obama has never attempted to establish any goal, allowing him to do what leftists love—step through the looking glass and call each of his many, many failures—a "success."