I don’t think the Saudis are great strategic thinkers, but they do know who their main enemies are: Iran and its allies, from Damascus to Moscow, and the plethora of terrorist armies, of varying cult membership, from the Middle East to Africa and on to Latin America. The pattern to our current foreign policy — well reflected in the recent nominations to the three key slots in the administration — is twofold: retreat from the battlefield, and appeasement of radical, anti-American regimes and movements. Thus, we arm the (Sunni) radical Morsi regime in Egypt, we negotiate with the Taliban, and with Tehran, and we put roadblocks in front of Assad’s enemies. Badran:
(Saudi) criticism reflects a more general perception among the Sunni regional states, and zeroes in on the message that Washington has been sending about its strategic priorities. Instead of leading the effort to bring down the Assad regime, and thereby deal a major blow to Iran’s alliance network, it appears far more concerned about pressing the Syrian opposition to reach out more to minorities and about preserving so-called regime “institutions.” If the US wanted to eliminate Iranian influence in Syria, then it should be looking to dismantle, not preserve, “institutions” like the security services, which are allied with Iran.
Isn’t that the one consistent pattern? As I once asked, if you wanted to craft a policy to encourage and empower America’s most radical enemies, and discourage and frustrate America’s friends, how would your policy differ from what we’re got now?
Isn’t that what the national security nominees represent? Douthat oddly leaves out John Kerry, a man who achieved fame by joining the most radically anti-American groups in this country during the Vietnam War, by throwing away his war medals, by accusing the United States of horrific war crimes, and by consorting with our enemies. He consorted with Assad, too, let’s not forget, as did Hagel, who, as senator, blocked Iran sanctions and called for better relations with Tehran. And Brennan, early on, spoke respectfully of jihad.
So, to answer the rhetorical question in the headline, I don’t think we’re governed by an imperialist, or by an old-fashioned appeaser. We’re governed by a man who has taken sides in the global war, and he favors those who think America is the source of the world’s biggest problems. The Obama Doctrine, demonstrated by our actions on the ground and by the president’s choice of top officials for his second term, is: remove America from the battlefield, encourage those who hate America, withhold support from those who would fight against our common enemies, and things will get better.