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

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Soothing Tones

In a highly critical op-ed, derisively entitled, "Obama's Syria Achievement." published in The Washington Post, Fred Hiatt writes:
This may be the most surprising of President Obama’s foreign-policy legacies: not just that he presided over a humanitarian and cultural disaster of epochal proportions, but that he soothed the American people into feeling no responsibility for the tragedy.

Starvation in Biafra a generation ago sparked a movement. Synagogues and churches a decade ago mobilized to relieve misery in Darfur. When the Taliban in 2001 destroyed ancient statues of Buddha at Bamiyan, the world was appalled at the lost heritage.

Today the Islamic State is blowing up precious cultural monuments in Palmyra, and half of all Syrians have been displaced — as if, on a proportional basis, 160 million Americans had been made homeless. More than a quarter-million have been killed. Yet the “Save Darfur” signs have not given way to “Save Syria.”

One reason is that Obama — who ran for president on the promise of restoring the United States’ moral stature — has constantly reassured Americans that doing nothing is the smart and moral policy. He has argued, at times, that there was nothing the United States could do, belittling the Syrian opposition as “former doctors, farmers, pharmacists and so forth.”
Over the past few months, Barack Obama has used the same type of soothing language (and lies) to assure us that his Iran "deal" is a good one for America, the West, and the World. He blithely offered the false choice—his deal or War—and his supporters on the left parroted it ad nauseum to justify his capitulation to the world's most dominant sponsor of terror. Obama and Kerry lied about our ability to verify this agreement, about the potential catastrophic consequences of giving the Iranians $150 billion in sanctions relief, and about the seriousness of genocidal threats and "Death to America" chants from the leader of Iran.

Could it be that Obama's dissembling with respect to Syria is a harbinger of dissembling relative to Iran, and that the same soothing language (and lies) used to discuss Syria have been used in the discussion of Iran?

Just today, the Iranian leadership stated that Israel would cease to exist within 25 years. Since Iran has Obama's blessing to develop enriched uranium in 10 years (yes, that is part of the "deal"), the Ayatolla's genocidal prediction holds some weight. But no worries, just listen to Hillary Clinton's soothing tones as she tells us that we need to provide Israel with addition military support.

The core of every argument against Obama's Iran deal is rarely mentioned. To wit, he has shown incredibly bad judgement in almost every foreign policy endeavor. Why on earth should the American people believe he has somehow concocted the right strategy relative to Iran? In truth, polls show that overwhelmingly, they do not. But his supporters among the Democrats continue to believe he's the smartest guy in the room. He. Is. Not.

Hiatt continues:
Perversely, the worse Syria became, the more justified the president seemed for staying aloof; steps that might have helped in 2012 seemed ineffectual by 2013, and actions that could have saved lives in 2013 would not have been up to the challenge presented by 2014. The fact that the woman who wrote the book on genocide, Samantha Power, and the woman who campaigned to bomb Sudan to save the people of Darfur, Susan Rice, could apparently in good conscience stay on as U.N. ambassador and national security adviser, respectively, lent further moral credibility to U.S. abdication.

Most critically, inaction was sold not as a necessary evil but as a notable achievement: The United States at last was leading with the head, not the heart, and with modesty, not arrogance. “Realists” pointed out that the United States gets into trouble when it lets ideals or emotions rule — when it sends soldiers to feed the hungry in Somalia, for example, only to lose them, as told in “ Black Hawk Down,” and turn tail.

The realists were right that the United States has to consider interests as well as values, must pace itself and can’t save everyone. But a values-free argument ought at least to be able to show that the ends have justified the means, whereas the strategic results of Obama’s disengagement have been nearly as disastrous as the human consequences.
It took less than four years after Obama's disastrous decisions and inaction for Syria to become a failed state and precipitate a humanitarian disaster of epic proportions. Fortunately,  the only WMD used was poison gas. One can only wonder how long it will take for Iran deal to precipitate equally catastrophic events. But even more frightening is that the WMD of choice will result in a mushroom cloud.

The Democratic Party owns Obama's foreign policy decisions because even when they had the chance to do so, they did not and do not have the courage to control him politically. Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton have more than a little ownership in all of this as well.

The big question is whether those who use soothing tones today with be held to account in the years to come. Somehow, I doubt it.