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The Dog Ate My Homework

August 26th, 2013 - 5:00 am

A number of articles examine the reasons why Barack Obama got into his current foreign policy fix. Powerline argues he let Turkey and Qatar run his Syria policy whenever he wasn’t taking his cue from Saudi Arabia. His best buddies were going to handle Syria for him. And they’re still at it. The Kingdom has rolled out the big guns for the final push. CIA has come to the conclusion, according to the Wall Street Journal, the Saudis think Assad needs one more shove to nudge him over the edge because they’ve put Prince Bandar in charge of boosting the rebels.

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar—for two decades one of the most influential deal makers in Washington as Saudi ambassador but who had largely disappeared from public view—is now reprising his role as a geopolitical operator. This time it is to advance the Saudi kingdom’s top foreign-policy goal, defeating Syrian President Assad and his Iranian and Hezbollah allies.

Bandar, the go-to-guy in Washington. The effect of these efforts has been more money and guns for the rebels through Turkey, as the Guardian recounts.

Rebel groups in Syria’s north say they have received their largest shipment of weapons yet, in a fillip to an anti-government campaign that had stalled for many months.

Leaders of militias supported by backers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar say several hundred tonnes of ammunition and a limited supply of light weapons were allowed across the Turkish border in the past three days, in what they said was the first large-scale re-supply since earlier this year.

The weapons are believed to have been sent by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and were warehoused in Turkey for many months. Senior rebel commanders contacted by the Guardian say they did not include anti-aircraft missiles, but several dozen anti-tank rockets were among them.

But Edward Luttwak, writing in the New York Times, asks what good the guns are if both sides are America’s enemies. He writes “In Syria, America Loses if Either Side Wins”.

Indeed, it would be disastrous if President Bashar al-Assad’s regime were to emerge victorious after fully suppressing the rebellion and restoring its control over the entire country. Iranian money, weapons and operatives and Hezbollah troops have become key factors in the fighting, and Mr. Assad’s triumph would dramatically affirm the power and prestige of Shiite Iran and Hezbollah, its Lebanon-based proxy — posing a direct threat both to the Sunni Arab states and to Israel.

But a rebel victory would also be extremely dangerous for the United States and for many of its allies in Europe and the Middle East. That’s because extremist groups, some identified with Al Qaeda, have become the most effective fighting force in Syria. If those rebel groups manage to win, they would almost certainly try to form a government hostile to the United States. Moreover, Israel could not expect tranquillity on its northern border if the jihadis were to triumph in Syria.

True, all true. But you can imagine how persuasive Bandar and Erdogan might be alone with Obama. The tea, exotic furnishings, lapses into a foreign language, the confidences, anecdotes, the intimation of secret knowledge they’re willing to confide in him. Like nothing you would get from a Mormon or a mid-Western plumber. Why he has the inside track! Unfortunately that whispered policy has led to catastrophe.  Julie Pace writing for AP describes the disappointment the President must be feeling.  ”For Obama, world looks far different than expected”.  It’s not working. He the expected a place on Mount Rushmore but finds himself and the country he leads shrunken on the international stage.

Nearly five years into his presidency, Barack Obama confronts a world far different from what he envisioned when he first took office. U.S. influence is declining in the Middle East as violence and instability rock Arab countries. An ambitious attempt to reset U.S. relations with Russia faltered and failed. Even in Obama-friendly Europe, there’s deep skepticism about Washington’s government surveillance programs.

…”The president has not had a long-term strategic vision,” said Vali Nasr, who advised the Obama administration on foreign policy in the first term and now serves as dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. “They’re moving issue to issue and reacting as situations come up.”…

But the perception of a president lacking in international influence extends beyond the Arab world, particularly to Russia. Since reassuming the presidency last year, Vladimir Putin has blocked U.S. efforts to seek action against Syria at the United Nations and has balked at Obama’s efforts to seek new agreements on arms control….

Michael O’Hanlon, a national security analyst at The Brookings Institution, said the president miscalculated in assuming that a few signs of improved ties would be enough to overcome years of distrust with the Russians.

Obama’s responses to adversity have been typical. It must be Rush Limbaugh’s fault. His handlers apply euphemisms like ‘miscalculated’, ‘unexpected’ or ‘difficult’ as synonyms for the unutterable word ‘blunder’. Or else the tame press argue that America’s influence in the world was bound decline anyway and Obama’s made the best of a bad hand inherited from Bush.

More than a year ago Peter Beinart led the way by writing that the “Egypt Policy Shows How Well Obama Has Managed America’s Decline”. Time concluded that “Egypt No Longer Matters. It’s time for Washington to recognize that Cairo is not the center of the Arab world” after Morsi was thrown out of Egypt. The Washington Post talked down the current spat with Russia by arguing they are so minor as to be inconsequential. “They [Russia] just don’t care enough about those disagreements to go through the trouble of fixing them … It’s just not the priority.”

It’s gone from denial to outright lying. To quote Hillary Clinton “what difference does it make” if everything’s all fouled up? But the blatant stupidities are starting to worry even Colin Powell who says there’s no point to acting in Syria without knowing who you’re helping.

“I have no affection for Assad,” Powell told Bob Schieffer on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” while mentioning he knows the Syrian president and has personally dealt with him. “He’s a pathological liar.”

However, Powell said, “I am less sure of the resistance. What do they represent? Is it becoming even more radicalized with more al Qaeda coming in, and what would it look like if they prevailed and Assad went? I don’t know.”

That’s Common Sense 101, but the point is apparently one too difficult — or too simple — for the President to grasp. Obama is trapped by his own propaganda, the victim of his own myth. He came to power on the strength of his supposed genius; his messianic transcendance. He was destined to make the world America’s friend; usher in a world without nuclear weapons; and fundamentally transform the nation. He was even going to make the oceans fall. Why he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in anticipation of achievements he had not yet even attained.

It is these expectations that weigh down on him like lead. Had Obama not made any of these vaunting boasts he might not look like the fool he is now. But as his speech on “Red Lines” exemplifies the teleprompter can write check his autopen doesn’t even know how to sign.

Perhaps the only remaining reason for striking Syria without first deciding policy is simply to demonstrate to low information voters that he’s still President; that he can still do something, even if that something is pointless. The dangers be damned.  Forbes says Russia is spelling it out for him, warning Obama not to “repeat ‘past mistakes’ in the Middle East when dealing with the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad. Washington said Assad used it before. Russia said they did not.”

This is a not so subtle way of reminding Obama that if WMDs can disappear from Iraq, they can disappear in Syria too. Al-Qaeda and/or Hezbollah will only be too glad to receive them.  It is also a way of saying that if Obama was the beneficiary of Russia’s disinformation against George Bush, Obama can be its victim too.

Russia’s warning underscores the need for President Obama to stop and take stock. Many words are whispered in the President’s ear. The Russians, Turks, Saudis, Qataris and even the Iranians may be running so many false flag operations that the President may unintentionally be doing their bidding. Rather than lashing out blindly, he should ask himself: what am I doing? Who am I working for?

And the unfortunate answer is: you work for guys like the mid-Western plumber. The folks who drive Fords, shop at Safeway’s and who may even own a gun or two. The people who elected you.

The fundamental weakness in Obama’s policy process was that he conducted it in secret. He was rife with secret plans; a secret plan to spread the Arab Spring; a classified “kill list”, a secret plan to suspend aid to Egypt, a secret surveillance system with secret courts, a secret wiretap on all of AP. A secret this and a secret that.

These were indications of an unwillingness to share power, as felt perhaps by a superior being contemptuous of Congress and the Supreme Court.

Obama’s compulsion to make decisions personally, to consult only himself and a few cronies, made policy making extraordinary vulnerable to the influence peddling of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other powerful lobbyists. It moved debate over major issues from the public sphere into backrooms where Bandar, Erdogan, Putin and Xi could work their magic. It’s true the President was advised by Valerie Jarrett, Eric Holder and Janet Napolitano, but even their sagacious advice proved unequal to the task.  Under the permissive gaze of the media the shift from policy making by constitutional processes to one by ignorant celebrity rule became complete.

Checks and balances were instituted for a reason, but the President felt he didn’t need them. He disabled the circuit breakers. Yet perhaps the fundamental reason why Barack Obama’s Syria policy is so broken is because he crafted it so narrowly; outside the venues provided by the Constitution, relying instead on his self-ascribed genius, a narrow set of advisers and so-called friends to steer him right. In the event they put him on the road to perdition.

Now, as the Navy nears Syria, he is even now trying to paint his way out of the corner in the same old defective way: with bluster, bluff and a sense of his own infallibility. If the past is prologue we know how his new Acme project will end. “It is a fine broad stairway at the beginning, but after a bit the carpet ends. A little farther on there are only flagstones, and a little farther on still these break beneath your feet. … That is the position – that is the terrible transformation that has taken place bit by bit.”

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Top Rated Comments   
Barry really is on the horns of a dilemma. If he does nothing in Syria (or was it Egypt, or Libya ...?), the real power players of the world will know that he is a contemptible weakling, and start to push him around even more. How low can he bow?

On the other hand, if he rips a page out of Bubba Clinton's playbook and fires off millions of dollars of cruise missiles, there will be problems on the home front. With all the time to prepare (plus assistance from Russia), many of those cruise missiles will be shot down -- they are just subsonic aircraft, after all. And the ones that are allowed to hit will cause immense collateral damage, guaranteed! Children in body bags will be stacked up for the Gruaniad and the BBC to photograph, causing anguish to the NYT set. Aging baby boomers may march (hobble?) to DC to chant their opposition to Soetero's war.

Since Barry's focus is on his domestic power, he will do nothing. In a week's time, Syria will be as far down the media's memory hole as Cairo's riots. And Soetero's enemies (yes, he has them, even though he chooses to ignore the fact) will have an even better measure of a very small man.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The real lesson of Black Hawk Down is never, ever intervene militarily on humanitarian grounds in a muslim civil war. We handed Al Quaeda a massive propaganda coup with our ill-concieved and half-a$$ed intervention in Somalia. Shooting down BlackHawks and dragging dead special force operators through the streets convinced Al Quaeda that we were the weak horse and lacked the stomach for a fight. We proved ourselves weak. 9-11 followed shortly.

Let it burn.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I can’t help recalling the smartest thing I ever read by Peggy Noonan. Hypothesizing what a Kerry Administration foreign policy would be like, she said:

“He would surround himself with very bright people and they would study every problem very carefully. And then they would do nothing. Because they would conclude that what should be done was what the Republicans would do, and they could not do that.”

Remove the part about “very bright people” and “studying very carefully” and you have the Obama Administration.

And add “They would then do what the Clinton Administration would do, because Bill got away with it.”
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (61)
All Comments   (61)
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Like Obama's ancestors in darkest Africa, his head should be shrunken and placed alongside Jimmy Carter's: Mt. Molehill.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
0bama really doesn't have a coherent foreign policy for Syria, or Libya, or Egypt, or Lebanon, or Tunisia, or Russia, or China. He does, however, have at least a dim bulb idea of what to do about Israel; surrounding himself with self proclaimed people of "superior intellect" has not gone over very well for poor Barry. It's just so frustrating when socialist theory crashes head first into Islamic reality leaving 0bama trying to go up on a down escalator. Oh well, he can always head out to the golf course to clear his head and dream of even greater conquests.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm seeing more and more pictures of the victims -- and none of them are consistent with nerve gas. They don't show any contortions, some pictures imply that the dead have been laid down even before rigor mortis!

Shades of Pallywood!

Further, the dead are shown laid to rest -- by unprotected parties in mass graves.

There is no nerve agent that I'm aware of that can be suffered so. The clothing of the dead, even their skin, figures to be so contaminated that anyone rendering aid or attending to the dead will be seriously harmed.

So how can one square tales of communications intercepts telling of nerve gas munitions with the photographic evidence?

The matter is too weighty to NOT get absolute confirmation.

Why the rush to judgment?

The particulars of this attack don't add up, tactically or strategically, unless it's a false flag AQ gambit.

One must also assume that the al-Nusra gang is amplifying the body count by laying down with the dead. The large victim count requires confirmation.

Lastly, are the deceased just those fellows that were recently trained in Jordan by the West?

Were they betrayed, caught out in the open and subjected to massed fires?

If so, time to call Acme and re-order.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
God damn you blert---

Don't talk to us in terms of evil white patriarchical crap like chemistry or physics. It conflicts with the Holy Narrative. And anything that conflicts with the Narrative is false by definition. 2 + 2 does equal five if the Narrative demands it.

Quit using your brain. Its just such a simple request from the high and godlike people who want to rule us for our own good. Brains, like guns, are dangerous things that need to be regulated.

We need to do that for the children.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

I believe that this falls under the Obama Regime's very large heading titled; "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?".

If it was Sarin [coded GB], anyone who touched the skin or outer clothing of the victims for over a half hour after exposure in the absence of protective gear

would themselves be fatally exposed to the gas, based on the known persistence of the agent. Islamic funeral practices would appear to guarantee exposure [noting that the agent will be more persistent between the clothes and the body or in folds of the clothes as evaporation is the means of dissipation.

That is with GB. Other nerve agents are far more persistent, with the effects acting for hours [see VX]

Returning to Islamic burial practices and noting that they are to be carried out within one day:

"Body Washing

The body is to be washed by a member of the same sex, except if the deceased is a child or spouse. The body is placed on a table with all garments removed, with the private parts covered. The stomach is then firmly pressed to help release any loose bodily excretions, which are then cleaned away with a cloth. The body is washed with clean, warm water using either the hands or a clean cloth. Washing must be done three, five or seven times--always an odd number, with water and soap. Scented water can be used for the final washing. The right side is washed while the body is placed on its left side and vice versa. The hair is washed and combed, with a male's hair left unbraided and a female's gathered into two braids with loose hair at the ends. At this point, the Islamic ritual of Wudu (ablution) is performed. Perfumed cotton is used to cover the front and rear openings of the body.

Body Wrapping

For wrapping a male body, three pieces of clean white cloth are required. Each piece must cover the entire body. Silk is not to be used for wrapping a male. For a female, five pieces of cloth are used. Four strips of cloth are necessary to be used to tie the sheet to the body. These can be taken from one long strip torn off of the main sheet. One is to be tied above the head, with another tied below the feet and two additional ones around the body itself."

Look at the pictures of the victims. They are wrapped as if the funeral practices have been followed. If they were killed by nerve agents, the persistence would have made casualties of the funeral personnel, and I rather doubt they would have continued.

Subotai Bahadur

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Although this may very well be a cause that our 'we are the world' leadership is willing to send others to die for, the question each and every one of us needs to ask himself is: Is this a cause WE are willing to die for?

Is this really worth the blood and treasure of our sons and [now] daughters as well as that of their sons and daughters?

If it is. Hop to it and make sure the half-a$$er-in-chief and his flock of two-faced yellow bellies doesn't c_ck it all up...Yet again...On purpose.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
He's gone through life lazy, with a good line of B.S., and as the tool of others to accomplish their goals--Richie Daley, Emil Jones, Bill Ayers... and it always worked for him. Not for his district or his state or his country, but for his career. More of the same, now.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Sauds dictated US policy under Bush and it was bad news.

The Sauds dictate US policy under Obambus and it's good news, maybe.

What is the difference?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Though you could never prove it, assuming that Obama basically made a deal with the Saudis and the Emirs to fund his election in exchange for promising to exile the US Army to Afghanistan creates a startling analytic prism. They convinced him that Pakistan was the center of gravity of al-Qaeda and told him to go play there. They would "handle" the Middle East, for him.

And like Pinnochio without Gepetto or the Good Fairy, Obama believed the donkey drover and got bewitched by them. Of course the Gulf Arabs handled it in the only way they knew how, via their Jihadi auxiliaries.

And here we are.

Now two things are happening simulataneously. First, Obama is in trouble. Second, his patrons are in trouble. By letting them sow mischief in the region and settle their ancient quarrels, he's ignited a civil war in Islam. A civil war across the region. Remember the Saudis and the Gulf people are themselves faced with the same schisms at home.

It was, if you believe that prism, a fundamental "miscalculation" on Obama's part. And now he's trapped in a vise of his own making and each increasingly more desperate attempt to extricate himself worsens the situation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
0bama is discovering that petards are really cheap...Especially when you use other people's taxable income to buy them in bulk.

He just forgot about the hoist part...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Without getting into ALL the complexities, if the Bush family hadn't been a****** buddies with the Sauds for generations, then our reaction to 9/11 might well have targeted Saudi Arabia. For that matter, we might never have invaded Iraq on behalf of Kuwait in 1991, except that the Saudis were afraid that Saddam was coming for them next - or at least that's what was said at the time. Those bunch of sour apples in Saudi Arabia never had a coherent position in their lives, but most of the rationals for Gulf Wars I and II were dictated by their preferences. By the end of about 2003 they were heartily sick of what Dubya was doing, but that was likely to have been the result no matter what we had done or not done.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Nonetheless, my comment was meant mostly rhetorically, or sardonically, or something. Along the lines of, Dubya's policy was better than the Saudis, and Obambus' policies are worse.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Saudi Arabia never supported the invasion of Iraq. It was opposed to it. "Saudi Arabia has warned the United States against a possible war against Iraq in an exclusive interview with the BBC. "

Nor was it ever part of the Coalition of The Willing.

Indeed, the OIF mission was distinctly un-Arabic. That was part of Obama's critique of Bush's approach. One might venture to say that the Saudis fought Iraq via the media and the Democratic Party.

I think the lesson Obama drew was that his Middle Eastern policy should essentially be written in the region. That is, he would let the Gulf States and the Kingdom, and possibly Turkey write it. Or he would just leave it to them.

But that, I think, has also manifested some drawbacks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The only Arab nation on board with OIF was Kuwait.

Memories were still raw from 1990/1. Many abducted Kuwaitis never returned. The tale is that they were liquidated by Saddam AFTER he lost the 1991 campaign.

I heard from an American officer in a position to know that we had intel showing returned Iraqi soldiers being machine-gunned down on the tarmac at Baghdad airport.

That atrocity is why the repatriation process suddenly had a hang-up back then. The tale was suppressed. KSA didn't want us to re-open the campaign and continue up river; which would've been required if Saddam kept 'going Stalin' on his own army.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Barry really is on the horns of a dilemma."

He is indeed and it's getting worse. As you know, when reading aloud in public, Obama swivels his head from the left TOTUS to the right TOTUS. We are receiving reports up here in Canada that the right TOTUS has fled the White House and is attempting to cross the border into Alberta.

Only the left TOTUS remains. Now, when reading aloud in public, President Obama will swivel for drivel to the left, swivel right for a silent moment, swivel left for drivel, then right for a silent pause ..... and so on.

Apparently Joe Biden announced that now Obama will keep his mouth shut half the time " President Obama will make twice as much sense!"

Groan ... yeah I know, general lunacy is contagious --- sorry.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How interesting. Little Barry Soetoro finds himself King of the World, and is now contemplating a little bit of war in the Middle East. To understand what Obama will do, you have to think like he does. He will ask himself:

"Is there any objective in Syria worth achieving which supersedes the pleasure to be enjoyed by even ONE round of golf at a plush country club, played with sycophants at each elbow and a Secret Service entourage? Even more, will anything in Syria matter while I'm ON the golf course (like Benghazi)?"

So his real, super-duper, top secret policy will be "...let it burn, baby, just let 'em all burn ..".

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama’s approach goes like this:

1. An international issue arises and he chooses to handle it with speeches and gestures. This is approximately the same as handing the problem over to Rush Limbaugh and telling him he could not use the military or other sources of US power – except that Rush would make more sense.
2. As a result, no contingency plans are created nor resources developed and allocated to the problem
3. A crisis develops and Obama looks at the situation, finds that, strangely enough, there are no plans or resources available, and so he decides nothing useful can be done. This is the equivalent of Truman in 1945 considering whether to bomb Japan or invade it and finding that not enough cargo ships or B-29’s were built, and the Manhattan Project never started.

All in all, this is like not doing your homework because you don’t want to - and figure that the dog will eat it even if you do, anyway.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Russia’s warning underscores the need for President Obama to stop and take stock. Many words are whispered in the President’s ear. The Russians, Turks, Saudis, Qataris and even the Iranians may be running so many false flag operations that the President may unintentionally be doing their bidding. Rather than lashing out blindly, he should ask himself: what am I doing? Who am I working for?

And the unfortunate answer is: you work for guys like the mid-Western plumber. The folks who drive Fords, shop at Safeway’s and who may even own a gun or two. The people who elected you."

The word "unintentionally" carries an implication of innocence. While we do not know who pulls his strings, or if he is self-motivated to impose a domestic tyranny [my personal choice]; there is neither innocence nor lack of hostile intent in his actions.

As far as who he works for; the government no longer works for the American people. We have a "Governing Party" of two wings, and they are both out of control of the people. Consent of the governed only applies theoretically in the most extreme sense noted in the Declaration of Independence, and most Americans would not understand that until it bit them personally.

The Constitution is being systematically stripped of meaning and power, step by step. The legislative power of the purse no longer exists, because we no longer do constitutional budgets. Obama can post something on a White House website selectively voiding part of a statute for his own political benefit, and there is no reaction. Court orders, including Supreme Court orders, are just ignored. It is hard to tell the political opposition from the regime by their actions. Now we are going to go to war with no reference to either Congress [as our Constitution mandates] or the UN, at the whim of Obama. For all his many faults, Bush at least got votes from Congress and the support of the UN. And it burns what passes for the souls of the Leftists to actually have that vote on their records.

Every step he takes is an accumulation of power into the personal hands of The Leader. That is his consistent domestic agenda.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well said.

A massive wall of outrages and usurpation has inundated the ability of our system to even begin to cope.

It is a Cloward-Piven tsunami of sick.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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