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Belmont Club

Turn, Turn, Turn

March 31st, 2014 - 4:34 pm

Yes we can. Unlike previous scattershot presidents, Barack Obama has his priorities straight. Take his laser-like grand strategic focus.

In November, 2011 President Obama pledged to pivot to the Asia Pacific from the Middle East. Then on March 27, 2014 president Obama declared he would shift his focus from Europe to the Middle East.   On March 28, Time Magazine announced: the Middle East matters most to Obama, not Putin.

Then on March 30, 2014 the Hill reported that the US was shifting its focus from the Asia Pacific to Europe.  So I guess Putin matters after all.

Nobody mentioned Southwest Asia. The administration has probably already forgotten Afghanistan, that “war of necessity”, which was where Obama pivoted from Iraq. At a hearing this week, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert admitted his head was spinning.

“There’s a point to where the rubber band snaps,” Greenert responded. “And if we go to the Budget Control Act caps, and we continue on that track, then I think the rubber band’s pretty darn close to snapping, if you will.”

Obama unveiled the Asia-Pacific rebalance strategy in January 2012 just after U.S. troops had left Iraq, branding it as the next big foreign policy emphasis as the wars in the Middle East neared their ends.

And now things have changed again.  What is really threatening civilization is Global Warming. Secretary of State John Kerry reacted to the latest UN report calling for cutbacks on carbon generation saying “denial of the science is malpractice. There are those who say we can’t afford to act. But waiting is truly unaffordable. The costs of inaction are catastrophic”.

Is catastrophic more important than “vital”?  When president Obama says Iran categorically won’t get the Bomb how does that compare with a “Red Line”?  Even indefatigable Obama supporter Alan Dershowitz is exhibiting confusion.  ”It is Chamberlain who has come to symbolize the failure to prevent Hitler’s ascendancy. So too will Mr. Obama come to symbolize the failure of the West if Iran acquires nuclear weapons on his watch.”

It’s almost as if Dershowitz had doubts about the president’s ability to focus on a problem and solve it; almost as if he believed Iran, like Syria and Afghanistan and Iraq and Egypt and Libya and Obamacare and Benghazi … would just be kicked down the road and forgotten.

The problem of ordering priorities is not confined to the president.  The EU has announced it will make a huge sacrifice to  checkmate Putin’s ambitions in Eastern Europe. It’s going to put the campaign for gay rights on temporary hold.

In an effort to bring Ukraine closer to the West and avoid offending powerful conservative sensibilites in the new government in Kiev, the European Union has told human rights activists that it may backtrack on demands that the country improve legal protections for sexual minorities, which had previously been called a requirement for liberalizing visa rules between Ukraine and the EU.

The fight over LGBT rights comes as European officials are scrambling to come up with a response to Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula and has raised the possibility that Brussels may sacrifice demands that Kiev improve its human rights record as part of strengthening ties with Europe.

This is operative until next week when a new media spin cycle starts again. Then the West will pivot to …


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