Obama and Russia

Obama ‘s Middle East Policy. Does He Have One? Does anyone care?

I Have not been doing my blog lately. Partially because of disgust with the leadership, or more accurately the total lack of leadership, starting and centering in the White House. Meanwhile our country slowly descends to the level of a   second rate power. It is indicative of a large portion of our population and their attitude that few seem to care. While Putin humiliates Obama and by transference our nation, Obama is making commercials for his health care disaster with sleazy Hollywood actors. It is also indicative of the spirit of the times that this resonates with much of the population.

There is a conference taking place in Washington this week hosted by one of the think tanks that litter the Washington landscape.   The conference title is  “Does Obama have a Middle East Policy.” I can answer that. Of course he does. I just read about it in one of the lugubrious  articles in the New Yorker, formerly a magazine of note but for the last few years, basically  an Obama fan magazine.

According to this article, which like Obama, is pretentious,  painfully long winded, and filled with Obamism’s like “ If you can start unwinding some of that Sunni-Shia hostility, that creates a new equilibrium.” followed by…. “And so I think each individual   piece of the puzzle is meant to paint a picture in which conflicts and competition still exist in the region, but that it is contained: It is expressed in ways that don’t exact such an enormous toll on the countries involved,”…………blah blah and so on.

The writer of an on line review (an obnoxious Brit named Alastair Crook) analyzing the Obama interview, exclaims, “This is the key. If the problem is one of historic Islamic animosities, then the Christian West has no place in it.” My God. Who would have thought of that? But the reviewer does not want to go too far in excusing the West, particularly America from this Islamic“recrudescence.” According to Crook we promoted the Shi’a and Sunnis to fight each other in Iraq.  This is the usual Left wing nonsense that circulates largely unchallenged around the academic campuses.

Well there you have it; Obama’s Middle East policy. The reviewer, after some of the pro forma Bush bashing goes on to write. “Obama intuitively grasps this (what? Not sure,) but he is seeking to orient America away from this pursuit of mission civilisatrice (whenever you have nothing of substance to write always use some French word. It seems so scholarly) in favour (sic) of a more limited goal of creating the “space” for positive currents to grow.”

Ok you got that? Gotta create those spaces for currents to grow. This may sound humorous but academics love this sort of  sophistry.  No doubt several long articles in peer-reviewed periodicals will announce how insightful this fatuous flatulence is.

In terms of the Middle East policy this idea of “equilibrium” means insuring that Iran balances the power of Saudi Arabia.   Cut Israel down to size.  Betray the secular elements of the Islamic world to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood. In essence it means building up the power of enemies to balance to power of allies. In fact this underlies a basic tenet of the radical Left that Obama was nurtured on. America has been too powerful, hence a proclivity to act as a bully on the world stage. If we reduce this country to a European style   effete nanny state, then much of the world’s problems are eliminated.

No more imperialism, no more Iraqs. Lead from behind. Talk big and do nothing.  Feed the people bread and circuses. Cut down the military, build up public dependency on Obama munificence.  The opposition in the legislative Branch is ineffective and the judicial branch bought the  concept of the “living constitution” long ago. The hoi poloi is watching Kim Kardashian   and the Anointed Ones are reading the New York Times and listening to NPR…….all part of what today   should  be considered as State run media.

It all reminds me of an incident that happened about twenty years ago while I was instructing at the US Army Special Warfare School. I had a guest speaker come and speak on Iraq. She is a very well known Iraqi “expert” and because the first Iraqi war had just begun, the entire auditorium was filled. It so happened that when I picked her up in the morning, the infamous incident had happened of a US missile penetrating an Iraqi command bunker and killing many civilians. In typical Ba’athist Iraq fashion the upper echelon had taken care of their  families, while emplacing weapons in  the ordinary civilian areas to deter US attacks.   The Ba’athists cared nothing about ordinary people( despite the  claims of Iraqi financed reporting by  CNN’s Peter Arnett)

The guest speaker was beside herself and very emotional. (She was always nice to me, so no name here).  During the talk she made the comment that there were too few US casualties and too many Iraqi. A person in the audience stood up and asked a question. Very sarcastically he asked “should American soldiers place targets over their hearts and stand in the open to facilitate a more proportional casualty rate.”

This was a soldier audience. Has it been at Columbia, or University of Wisconsin or most colleges, I am sure her comments would have received nods of approval.

To me her comment, albeit in an emotional moment, (she had been a big friend of the Iraqi ambassador to the US), is indicative of the radical Left’s prevailing attitude that America is not the answer, but the problem.

The guest speaker’s remarks are the core of the “equilibrium “ philosophy. America is too powerful. We should level the playing ground by fighting wars with one hand behind our back. This is really what it amounts whatever the specious counter claims may be.

Meanwhile our real enemy, Russia, is supplanting us around the world, particularly in the Middle East. Obama’s pathetic outreach to the Iranians, ignoring their continued uranium enrichment, weapons shipments to the Gaza militants, while bashing Israel, ignoring the new government of al-Sisi in Egypt, failure to support the Iraqi government, forcing them to increasingly turn to the Iranians, backtracking on Syria are only some examples of the path the Left is taking us.

The American public has reacted with indifference. Polls show that Obama’s inaction meets with public approval.  Who cares about the Ukraine anyway? Reminds one of another time and  another weak leader who speaking of Czechoslovakia, famously said,

How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is, that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas-masks here, because of a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing….”

No doubt the majority of the British would have agreed with him, having suffered huge losses in a war only 20 years before.

But then Churchill took over the helm., and he LED the people, not on sensing sessions, or polling data but doing what great leaders do.  He was the greatest leader of the past two centuries and in these troubled times, the likes of a Churchill are nowhere to be found.

Putin, in fact, is the closest real leader on the world stage today. He has re-energized Russia. Despite the disgraceful attempts of the US media to ridicule the Russian hosting the Sochi Winter Olympics, it was a triumph for Putin (and  by the way the Russians won the most medals.)  Did you read or hear that on American media? Russian pride has been re- generated to the extent that even their birthrate has increased. This is important because so many soothsayers have been forecasting the gradual extinction the Russian society and it  is a positive indicator of the health of a nation.

While our media and elite tend continue to focus on some ill-defined “terrorism” threat, the real enemy is a regenerated Russia looking for revenge for decades of Western contemptuous actions. None more illustrative of the new environment is the humiliating end of Obama’s “reset” doctrine. Putin has once again tested Obama and found him wanting.

So how does the Ukrainian fiasco affect the Middle East? Because of the alleged talks going on concerning Syria, Iran, and the Palestinian issue, the Russian allies have been emboldened: Iran, the Assad government in Syria, and the Palestinian militants have been closely watching and they see which way the wind is blowing. Russia is winning. We are losing.

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About Tex

Retired artillery colonel, many years in a number of positions in the Arab world. Graduate of the US Military Academy and the American University of Beirut. MA in Arab studies from the American University in Beirut along with 18 years as Middle East Seminar Director at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School, Served in Vietnam with 1st Inf Division, Assignments in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, plus service with Trucial Oman Scouts in the Persian Gulf. Traveled to every Arab country on the map including Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
Aside | This entry was posted in Middle East Politics, Personal Notes, Uncategorized, US Foreign Policy in Middle East and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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