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Belmont Club

The Inscrutable Barack Obama

March 20th, 2013 - 9:24 am

Caroline Glick describes President Obama’s trip to Israel as a “mysterious visit.” To her, the administration policy in the Middle East is a riddle wrapped inside an enigma.

The is truth we don’t know why Obama is coming to Israel. The Obama administration has not indicated where its Israel policy is going. And Obama’s Republican opposition is in complete disarray on foreign policy and not in any position to push him to reveal his plans.

Barry Rubin, also based in Israel, believes the president does have a long-term strategic goal. He’s decided to break with old American policy in the Middle East and throw his weight behind what he believed to be the coming wave of Islamic politics in the region. Rubin wrote that an analysis of documents showed that Obama’s idea of a solution to the crisis in the region was to pick the other side on the grounds that it would win:

In other words, a popular revolt was going to happen (I’ve seen the cables from the U.S. embassy in Tunisia that accurately predicted an upheaval), but would it succeed or fail? The Obama administration concluded that the revolt should succeed and set out to help make sure that it did so. As for who won, it favored not just moderate Islamic forces — which hardly existed as such — but moderate Islamist forces.

Which didn’t exist at all…

So the Obama administration did not stand beside friendly regimes or help to manage a limited transition with more democracy and reforms. No, it actively pushed to bring down at least four governments — Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen.

It did not push for the overthrow of two anti-American regimes — Iran and Syria — but on the contrary was still striving for good relations with those two dictatorships.

Equally, it did not push for the fall of radical anti-American governments in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

No, it only pushed for the fall of “valuable allies.”

In which case his trip to Israel is for the purpose of “managing the decline.” Does this conclusively show what is on the president’s mind? At least one Republican who is still asking pointed questions about Obama’s Arab Spring policy is Senator Lindsey Graham. He believes on the basis of survivor interviews that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was burned while the U.S. was trying to cork the terrorist genie unleashed when Gaddafi was overthrown. “We were desperately trying to control the anti-aircraft missiles, the manpads, that were all over Libya, that are now all over the Mideast.”

An even larger genie, Graham argues, is now being freed in Syria and is demanding a plan to secure the Assad arsenal. According to CBS News: “Amid unconfirmed allegations of a chemical weapons attack in Syria, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is demanding a plan to secure chemical weapon sites in the country – even if it means sending in U.S. troops, according to Foreign Policy. Graham expressed grave concerns about the prospect of ‘chemical weapons in Syria falling in the hands of extremists,’ and said in an interview with Foreign Policy today ‘Americans need to lead on this issue.’”

This suggests that Obama is at least partially afraid of the powerful forces he has unleashed. Thus, even if Rubin is right, the other side of the coin is a desire to keep things from going too far. And in this matter the president has to walk a tightrope.

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Top Rated Comments   
"This suggests that Obama is at least partially afraid of the powerful forces he has unleashed."

Nah, Obama just doesn't like Jews. He doesn't like Great Britain, doctors, insurance companies, oil companies, the United States, Judeo-Christian nations. . . And anything he dislikes, he bashes.

That's his whole policy as President: "It's all about me, my personal proclivities, my likes and dislikes." He's a puny little man, and a puny little president.
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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (61)
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Why wasn't this Chief required to sit before a panel, questioned about his meetings with code-pink's and their aid to brotherhoods uprising/overthrow..., Harry Reid should be sitting in front of a panel -- questioned and reprimanded for his own dereliction of duty; he either has no gut, is not of sane mind to represent his constituents and hold the duty of a senator or senator leader; or he is purposefully irresponsible amd mal-managing to up hold articles of the constitution and his duties; or his will is intent to silent/ turn a blind eye how far this derelict sitting disaster and Admin purposefully endangers Americans while Aiding the establishment of Chaos by terrorists. But Which is it? Why hasn't Reid attempted to find out why his chief met with code pink? Why are supplies -- continued supply of weapons sent and paid for by this Gov't directly/citizens indirectly to this 'Powerful' rouge group? Why?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What we need is a return to unabashedly pro-Christian foreign and domestic policy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
He obviously made the trip to determine if his limo would run on Israeli diesel, prove how tough he is on the press, study the Palestinian's offensive missile defense system and redraw some settlement boundary red lines.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So the epitome of the wrongheadedness intentions of AA/ EEO - our CiC, whose ONLY proven time and time again not to govern for the masses he supposedly serves. For whom whose entire 'body of work' is either sealed and or WHEN provided the chance to let his voice be heard he was more times than not, 'Present' or MIA altogether on our M E ally when his ahem, 'leadership' and ability to calm said ally is/ was needed most.

From the hot mikes criticizing Netanyahu, to al Jazeera et al. getting first interviewing dibs, his being silent during Iran's '10 election and subsequent protests, propping up Egypt's MB, giving them tanks, F-16's and continuing to give that anti-Semitic armpit of a country a hole lot of cash..

Shoot.. I'm surprised Netanyahu hadn't asked Uhbama for the Khalidi tapes.

WTF is he doing there anyway?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is no mystery to Obamas trip. He has discovered that it is far more comfortable to throw someone under a bus than be the one thrown. He sees his Middle East policy , defined by three words, hubris, inexperience and fallacy, fall apart country by country. The USA is left with only one ally in the region that is stable, democratic and capable of projecting military power in the region. In short he is looking for Israel to pull his chestnuts out of the fire he himself started.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"This suggests that Obama is at least partially afraid of the powerful forces he has unleashed."

Nah, Obama just doesn't like Jews. He doesn't like Great Britain, doctors, insurance companies, oil companies, the United States, Judeo-Christian nations. . . And anything he dislikes, he bashes.

That's his whole policy as President: "It's all about me, my personal proclivities, my likes and dislikes." He's a puny little man, and a puny little president.
.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Best comment to our sissified, anti-Semitic 'leader'.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Obama presidency has been marked by messianic overreach, a national health care initiative on the heels of an economic crisis, do ask and tell all gays in the military on top of defense cuts and over stretching troops in land locked Afghanistan, gay marriage, amnesty. It would appear that the president is here to punish America for disappointing him and his comrades though out the modern era.

Dollars to doughnuts Obama is once again trying to strike a grand bargain for the Palestinians as a precursor to standing with Iran over Iranian nuclear war plans.

I saw the devil on TV and he looked just like Obama except less charming.

Who said the devil would be a charmer?


1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As I see it, Wretchard, there are two large problems here; one pertaining to US capability and the record to date; the other to Obama's goals, to wit:

1. Given the record of Obamas actions in the Middle East and elsewhere, Netenyahu has no reason to trust anything he says. Obama says Irans development of a nuclear weapon is a red line, but he takes no effective action to prevent it, (sanctions against an oil exporting country are quite useless, as Saddam Hussein proved). The only result of Obamas actions over the last 4 years have been more and better-protected Iranian centrifuges producing more enriched uranium. And, the military forces in the US that might possible prevent this are being gutted by defense cuts.

2. Obama has already abandoned US allies such as Mubarak to the wolves, he has walked away from Iraq and Afghanistan, he proved utterly unable to protect his own ambassador in Libya. His reaction to North Koreas threat of nuclear attack is to...authorize enviromental impact statetements on increasing the number of missile interceptors in Alaska. Which he might do in a few years time. In the meantime he is eager to make more deals with Russia to further reduce what nuclear deterrent he has. These are not the actions of a man who is serious about his own national security, never mind his allies.

3. Obama wants to maintain control of the senate and take back control of the House in 2014. For that, he wants to cut military spending and have no wars abroad so he can buy the next election with more promises to his voting base. For his short term purposes, it makes sense for him to prevent an Israeli stirke against Iran and create a Palestinian state to win support from the the Islamic world. As an added bonus, this appeasement of Islam will hopefully prevent more terrorism directed at the US.

My guess is, he will use the threat of a withdrawel of US aid and the false promise of a missile shield to keep Israel quiet and allow for a Palestinian state. That this will lead to Iranian nuclear terrorism in a few years time will not bother him in the slightest.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The single most likely event: the last USN CVBG is withdrawn from the 5th Fleet -- for budgetary reasons -- of course.

Then, the Wan will lead with his behind, and the Three Conjectures will be all wrapped up, tout de suite.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The real question is: what is the absolutely uber-cool thing that a 1980s "progressive" student from an ethnic Muslim background with could do to impress his Palestinian friends? That's right:

A ONE STATE SOLUTION WITHOUT JEWS.

Obama has expressly advocated a CONTIGUOUS homeland for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. (Look up "contiguous", then take a look at the a map.)

People discounted Hitler's statements about eliminating Jews and opening up new "living space" in Russia as "mere rhetoric."

Meanwhile, the LA Times is still sitting on an explosive video of Obama's farewell speech for Rashid Khalidi. Anyone wonder what Obama said?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You can take it to the bank that he at least opened with some of his perfect Arabic, probably the shahada.

Ops.

Then, he simply had to opine for the one state solution, something that Said would've said.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think Romney was once asked whether he would uphold his LDS religion over the law and Romney answered that whatever his own personal beliefs, he was bound to uphold the law. Now Obama may have a personal preference for contiguous Palestine. But like Romney he is bound to set aside his personal beliefs and implement policy.

Policy is made through the political process. That involves Congress, and through them, the People. The People have a right to ratify policy in broad terms. Thus, the Constitution reserves three powers to Congress:

1. Only Congress has the right to declare war.
2. "Advice and consent" to treaties negotiated by the president.
3. The Senate has the right to approve or deny presidential appointments of ambassadors, consuls and Sec. of State.

Now President Obama has the legitimate right to advocate a Palestine in place of Israel, assuming he believed that. He has a right to advocate anything come to that. But he cannot act without convincing the broader public first. So he duty-bound to communicate his broad intentions to the public in some way. He cannot conduct a Secret Foreign Policy that is fundamentally in conflict with the political consensus.

Now, what is Obama up to? Who can say for sure, and therein lies the rub. You don't know whether to cheer or razz. I think it was the late Ed Koch who remarked that he suspected from the first that the President would double cross his Jewish supporters. What surprised him was that it would come so soon. That is a far harsher indictment than simply wishing that the President would speak plainly.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wretchard:

This enumeration form your comment tells me you are being sarcastic in your "moderate" tone about Obama:

""" 1. Only Congress has the right to declare war.
2. "Advice and consent" to treaties negotiated by the president.
3. The Senate has the right to approve or deny presidential appointments of ambassadors, consuls and Sec. of State. """

Because you obviously know, and have pointed out numerous times, that Obama does not feel constrained by these laws and rules, and has been given ample evidence that no one is trying very hard to stop him. You had me confused and disoriented for a moment. :-)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So, not enforcing immigration laws that he does not agree with is not evidence that he puts his own personal beliefs above the law? Seriously?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is correct, of course, that under the Constitution, Obama "is bound to set aside his personal beliefs and implement policy". But this is theory, not reality.

Unfortunately, Obama has consistently shown that he does not feel constrained by a constitution written by mere humans.

Re "Secret Foreign Policy: - in reality a president has many means to achieve results OUTSIDE CONSTITUTIONAL CHANNELS. Woodrow Wilson always wanted to join World War I, but had to campaign on a "keep us out" platform. Ronald Reagan's Iran/Contra strategy - whatever its merits - was another extra-constitutional effort.

Obama has stated - in AIPAC's face, no less - that he wants Palestinians to have a "SOVEREIGN AND CONTIGUOUS STATE" and continues to tout this on the White House website. To its eternal shame, AIPAC did not walk out on the messiah.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/05/22/remarks-president-aipac-policy-conference-2011
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You're assumption WRT Wilson is utterly wrong.

He was, even in his college daze, pro-German.

His PhD thesis reads as the foundation for the Nazi racial supremacist creed.

He had to be brought, kicking and screaming, into the war. He was, of course, entirely opposed to the Franco-British scheme of war reparations.

Your assumption has been debunked at length. Drop it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Interesting about his thesis - thanks.

It is true that Wilson subscribed to most "modern" and post-constitutional shibboleths of his (and our) day.

Re WW I - being pro-German is not necessarily inconsistent with a "visionary" politician seizing on war as a means to magnify his impact on WORLD POLITICS. Remember that Great Britain had been considered the principal wold power until then.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Elements of his thesis are out their on the WWW.

Don't attempt to read them until you have yourself strapped down to your chain with a safety belt.

You'll find yourself flipping pages -- to make sure the author is Wilson -- not Adolf.

I don't know how Wilson's thesis spread so far -- but Hitler lifted major elements -- almost body and soul -- from it.

Other sources include the movie classic "M." Jump to the trial sequence. Then flash on the rationale (Adolf's) for genocide. You can hardly miss the re-crafting, the rage.

And then, according to his own doctors, AH had late stage syphilis.
Moscow has finally admitted that Lenin died of syphilis; he was functionally insane his final years.(!)
And then, Napoleon... had a syphilis attack 6-17-1815. That's why the French Army didn't march when it should've, hence, Waterloo. (Also sourced from his own doctor's diary, dug up not so long ago.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Pre WWI Germans and Nazis were not quite the same. True there were imperialistic elements in Germany, and by 1917 they'd hardened into war aims to create an Empire in the Baltics and Ukraine (essentially the same ECONOMIC goals Hitler pursued with Barbarossa) but the Germans of the Keiserreich did not consider Russians to be racially inferior - how could they when Kaiser Willy and Tsar Nicky were cousins?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think that read somewhere that Obama's main moves as regards Israel have been to aid and help the Israeli radical left oppose BiBi and thus open up Israel to the Islamist's surrounding the country. Of course the more this idea is spread in Israel the more ticked off the Israeli's get.
There is a saying that the customers is always right. That is true until a badly behaving customer causes you to lose other customers, then you have to fire a customer. I wonder if the Mossad is getting ready to fire someone.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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