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

Monday, January 04, 2016

An Unraveling

I have on numerous occasions stated that Barack Obama's foreign policy in the Middle East (aided and abetted during his first four years in office by Hillary Clinton and the Democrats) is an unmitigated disaster. What's noteworthy is that there isn't a single success—not one. All we see are catastrophically bad decisions, driven by a feckless "strategy" that seems focused on rewarding enemies and isolating past allies. It exemplifies an ideology that elevates fantasy to an art form, leading to mistrust and chaos in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Somalia, the North tier of Africa, and Afghanistan.

When Obama trumpeted his "deal" with Iran (backed by a Democratic party that should have known better), those of us who didn't buy into the fantasy suggested (strongly) that no good would come of it. Now, as 2016 begins, we see Iran and Saudi Arabia sharpening their knives, with the Saudis and Bahrain braking off diplomatic relations with Iran and a war of words and actions accelerating. Within the past week, Iran fired a missile 1500 meters in front of an American aircraft carrier and our response is—nothing. As I predicted, Obama will neglect to notice any event(s) that might make his decision to get into bed with the Iranians seem ... well ... ill-advised. After all, Obama doesn't make mistakes, right?

Richard Fernandez quotes Karen DeYoung of The Washington Post:
The Saudi-Iranian blowup has thrown the president's Syria/Iraq strategy, already in disarray, into an absolute shambles. There is nothing left of it. Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post writes that "Obama administration officials expressed deep concern Sunday that the abrupt escalation of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran could have repercussions extending to the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the diplomatic efforts to end Syria’s civil war, and wider efforts to bring stability to the Middle East."
In Obama's world view, even ISIS—you know, the murderous barbarians who, according to this president (and Hillary Clinton) have nothing whatsoever to do with Islam—are being contained by Obama's brilliance and sage words, if not any real-life actions. Angelo Codevilla writes:
Daesh/ISIS attracts and inspires by combining orthodox Sunni Islam with very spectacular brutality. Inflicting pain, humiliation and death on captives or vengeance on presumed enemies has characterized some cultures. In all cultures throughout the ages, some individuals have relished these practices. Embedding brutality in ritual enhances its power to attract practitioners and to bind them to the group. Daesh/ISIS draws and inspires by dispensing the right and duty to engage in it.

It does so in the name of Allah with the prophet Muhammad’s own words. The methods– knives for beheadings, formulae for humiliating victims, etc. — it prescribes minutely by Sunni Islam’s authoritative Hadith. In contrast to the Nazi authorities who used to tell the Holocaust’s murderers that theirs was a somber though noble task, the Hadith spells out that those who kill and torture in Allah’s name should do so joyfully, with mirth, and that they should take pleasure in the fruits of their victories including the use of slaves, especially sex slaves.

Muhammad’s words and the Hadith’s accounts of his practices did not always inspire mayhem among us. Their attractive powers (and our trouble) here and now are due to their being preached by an Islamic State that embodies them, and which routinely humiliates what had been the world’s Great Powers. Crushing that State in shame would contribute to returning the words that now inflame countless hearts to rest between the covers of books.
But "crushing" isn't part of Obama's world view—and besides, all of this talk of the prophet Muhammed and the Hadiths can't be accurate because the "violent extremists" (no other adjectives allowed) in the Middle East have nothing to do with Islam. After all, Barack and Hillary tell us so.