Friday, October 2, 2015

Handwriting on the Wall

Regardless of our political persuasions, I think we can all reasonably agree that events in Syria this week - while very disturbing and a harbinger of even more awful things to come - are hardly surprising. In fact, if we make any effort at all to reassemble the tea leaves, any one of us - without access to security clearances or friends at the Pentagon - could have seen this coming.

There have been three tectonic foreign policy failures engineered by Obama during the last few years, each of which was enthusiastically endorsed by his democrat colleagues and implemented without  regard or understanding of their consequences.

1) The complete withdrawal of American forces from Iraq - Obama blamed this decision on an inability of the Iraqi parliament to reach a satisfactory "status of forces" agreement which would have included a provision of immunity from prosecution for American soldiers under Iraqi law. But, as is often the case with Obama who blames others for his actions or inactions, he never wanted a status of forces agreement from the start.

He made a campaign pledge to his adoring lefty "coalition" that he would leave Iraq and bring the troops home. After all, Iraq was the "bad war", initiated by that Halliburton-controlled war monger Dick Cheney, who was really the effective President, because George Bush was too stupid to actually formulate policy. Unfortunately, Obama contrasted this bad war with a "good" one: Afghanistan which is currently sputtering and deteriorating, and will soon join the list of his accomplishments.

2) The failure to act after Assad crossed the "red line" - I will give the administration some minimal credit that they have maintained that Assad cannot remain in power in Syria. But now, the Russians and Iranians disagree and have deployed the forces to prove it.

Obama could have at least sowed some doubt in Assad's own mind that he could survive by following through on his commitment of military response if the Assad regime were shown to have used chemical weapons against Syrian opposition groups. They were. Obama dawdled as he waited until it was "proven" the weapons were used. It was. The promise of military response was unwound and reduced until it became a threat of "pinprick" strikes. And they never were launched.

No further evidence was required that Obama would never act under any circumstances.

3) The singular commitment to securing a "nuclear" agreement with Iran under any conditions - anyone who has happened upon this blog knows I have characterized this deal as the most perplexing foreign policy initiative since the Kennedy administration. Even in the short period of retrospection since the deal was brokered by a stridently anti war Vietnam veteran (whose actions over the years have always been colored by the radical politics of his past) and an Iranian foreign minister whose government has made terrorism and the destruction of Israel an essential element in its conduct of affairs, it is clear it will change the Middle East generationally.

By having committed to an agreement that yielded to Iran seemingly at every turn, the Obama administration has cemented its reputation as incapable of action, as having no set of core principles by which it will stand and whose utter disdain for things military doom it - and this country - to participation from the sidelines.

No one takes this group seriously anymore. We are like Gen George McClellan, the Union commander during the earliest days of the Civil War, who made empty threats and promises, who moved from staging area to staging area, but failed to engage the enemy despite the orders of his commander, Abraham Lincoln. Despite the size, strength and superiority of Union forces, the Confederates knew they had nothing to fear as long as McClellan was in charge.

So, while the powerful air forces of the US launch 11 sorties per day against ISIS, the Russians gather themselves inside Syria, joined by the resorces of Gen Suleiman who leads Iran's Quds Force which funds Hizballah, and the two most powerful anti war radicals in America, Obama and Kerry, plead for "deconfliction" negotiations with the real actors in the region.

This is no mystery. No one should have been caught "flat footed". The signs were everywhere and intentionally ignored by those who have a solemn responsibility to protect this nation's interests and its people.

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