Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Obama's Global Incompetence
By Alan Caruba
All Presidents have had to deal with events around the world that seemed to call for a military response, but it was President Eisenhower who laid down the doctrine to avoid what he called “brushfire wars”, outbreaks such as we have seen in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and, in particular, Libya.
Eisenhower had directed the defeat of Germany in World War Two as the Supreme Allied Commander before being urged to run for president. He would serve two terms and was doubtless the right man at the right time in the nascent years of the Cold War.
President Obama seems to lack any kind of a doctrine or plan to deal with a Middle East where many are fed up with its dictators, combined with the realization of how far behind the rest of the world the region is.
It is an irony of history that, after Eisenhower squelched the British, French and Israeli plans to retake the Suez Canal following Nasser’s nationalization in 1956, in rather rapid succession, Nasser died, was replaced by Sadat who was assassinated, and a 28-year-old Mubarack then ruled Egypt until the Maghreb and Middle East exploded with turmoil this year.
Why did Obama feel compelled to say anything? Earlier he was reluctant to support the Iranians protesting the ayatollahs in Tehran, but he rushed to the Tele-Prompter to tell, not ask, Egyptian President Mubarak to step aside.
Curently, the Egyptian decision to open its borders with Gaza and Hamas bodes ill for Israel, but just about everything in the Middle East right now fits that description. And, of course, Obama took the opportunity to launch a verbal attack on our only real ally in the region with an overt mention of “1967 borders”.
The payback was a joint session of Congress in which Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered a speech to which both Democrats and Republicans repeatedly gave standing ovations. It made Obama look lame, but just about everything does these days.
Will there be a surge of democracy in Egypt? No. The military will find a way to retain power, most likely coalescing behind a new president/dictator. After that, large numbers of the Muslim Brotherhood will be jailed and killed until they crawl back into their holes.
In Libya, Obama could have simply let the resistance succeed or fail. There was no compelling reason to demand Gadhafi step aside and the embrace of “humanitarian concerns” rings hollow given events in Syria. So far the only thing that Libya has demonstrated is that NATO is ill prepared to wage a war.
Reports have it that Obama and the Russians have decided Gadhafi must go, but Assad of Syria can stay despite the fact that he is currently killing that nation’s people by the score.
Obama has returned from a European tour in which he exhorted them to give the emerging Arab states billions in aid to facilitate democracy, but Obama does not seem to grasp the fact that the only state in the Middle East that is a real democracy is Israel. The rest are controlled by dominant tribal groups in one fashion or another. They always have been and they always will be.
It has apparently escaped Obama’s notice that neither the U.S., nor any of the European nations have any money to throw at a bunch of unhappy Arabs. The Saudis have lots of money, but they are too concerned about the threat that Iran poses and too smart to get involved in the shifting sands of Middle Eastern power struggles.
The U.S. has a little problem called “a debt ceiling” to resolve so it can continue to borrow money just to pay interest on the money it already has borrowed.
Unlike Eisenhower, Obama is the wrong man at the wrong time. He is poorly advised by a pack of anti-Semites and lacks any experience, military or otherwise, to make decisions about the Middle East. His knowledge of that region’s history appears to come from brief quotes off the back of a cereal box.
In over two years in office, Obama has become a massive embarrassment to America whenever he goes abroad, whether it is to prattle about global warming in Copenhagen or to insult the Queen of England.
The result is a serious deterioration of confidence that America can be relied upon to support allies. In Eastern Europe, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Hungary are creating a regional framework for their mutual defense, fearing that neither NATO, nor the European Union, will be of much use to them if Russia gets frisky.
And you might recall that Obama denied Poland (and Europe) a missile shield, thus sending a signal to Russia that he actually trusted them. Nobody, but nobody, trusts the Russians. And it should be noted that Iran has missles that can hit Europe.
All of this invites trouble in a dangerous world because, more and more, nobody trusts America so long as Obama is in the Oval Office.
© Alan Caruba, 2011