Belmont Club

Back To The Future

When Michael Ledeen observed that the Civil War in Syria was beginning to resemble the Spanish Civil War, that meant among other things that the conflict was drawing in the Great Powers. And that process is unraveling the triumph of 1989 and recreating tensions in the world. The events that prompted Francis Fukuyama to muse about the ‘End of History and the Last Man’ have now been replaced by ‘Here We Go Again’.

That development was emphasized by a report that Russia was deploying nuclear patrols to the Southern Hemisphere “after a hiatus of more than 20 years following the break-up of the Soviet Union”. The reader comments in the Reuters article about the resumption of Russia’s deterrent patrols suggest that the public finally realizes what is going on: which is that all the grandiose pronouncements of the Obama administration have turned out to be just that — grandiose.

“I recall a few public comments from Mr Putin over the last several years asking the United States to dismantle its nuclear arsenal. I guess Mr Putin was just playing the game of opposites. “…

“told you he was using mideast destabilization and the Jihad to advance communism”

“Remember Hillary’s diplomacy? She took a STAPLES ” DONE” button and repainted it with the word RESET. THAT was her skill level at foreign policy. How did that work out? She reset us back to the Cold War.”

Even the liberal press, which recently discovered it was being spied upon and manipulated, is now beginning to wake up. Glenn Reynold’s discusses Peggy Noonan’s realization that Barack Obama’s presidency has been both a policy disaster and a threat to civil liberties. He is sympathetic, but one of his own commenters believe Reynold’s isn’t being hard enough on Noonan.

People like you knew and told people (repeatedly) what was coming if Obama won. You didn’t know the exact detail of the abuses of power that would come but you knew they were coming. People like Peggy Noonan, David Brooks and Christopher Buckley, on the other hand, assured us that John McCain was too unpredictable for the Presidency and Sarah Palin not worthy of the Vice-Presidency. Barry, on the other hand, had the look of a president and certainly could be trusted with the levers of power. He went to an Ivy League school, after all.

Noonan looked down her nose at us in the flyover country and tut-tutted to her Beltway friends about how us slope-foreheads didn’t know how to judge politicians like those in the political class knew how to judge them.

Look what you gave us, Peggy-O.

There is a ring of truth to this. The blame for Barack Obama’s accession to power can hardly be blamed on Obama himself. He would of course have spun things his way and fought his own corner. He would naturally want the reins of power. The more serious responsibility lay with the Gatekeepers; with those who should have known better and still gave him a pass to the White House.

The low-information types at least have the excuse of being what they are. But what excuse do the intelligent have?

In the dramatic climax of the movie “Judgment at Nuremberg” the eminent jurist Dr. Ernst Janning, played by Burt Lancaster, makes the same point. The Janning character rejects the efforts of his own defense counsel to invoke his eminence by pleading guilty as charged. Turning to his co-accused Janning says words to the effect that ‘I am more culpable than these men because they were  idiots. But unlike them I clearly knew right from wrong. I could see through things and my reputation would convince others to think, well if Janning goes along then it is alright. But it was not alright and therefore I am not only guilty as charged but more guilty than any of these my co-accused. I made my life an excrement because I walked with them.’

However that may be, things stand where they stand. Syria has the distinction of being the place where all the falsehoods and incompetence of the administration come together. It’s where all the bills come due. It is where ‘leading from behind’ meets ‘no exit’.

The fundamental problem with Syria is that Obama cannot afford to win. That having started the process of upheaval in the Arab World using jihadis, the administration is now almost as afraid of victory as defeat.  The reason why Benghazi must never be discussed is that it is a preview of all that we are about to receive.

The renewed proposals to arm the Syrian rebels and to create a No Fly Zone over the region are indicators of just how desperate things are. The administration is drifting to the conclusion if they must choose among evils then they are better off designating the Russian/Iranian axis as the primary enemy, even at the cost of boosting an al-Qaeda front to victory in the region.

The probable hope is that after they defeat the Teheran/Moscow axis then they can deal with the Sunni threat. Only let us defeat Teheran and we will take what comes. Anyway we can call Jornolist into the West Wing and they will parrot our talking points.

The sad thing was that none of this was necessary. Rather it represents an Own Goal. A gunshot through the foot. It exemplifies the collapse of a policy  founded entirely on such fanciful notions as ‘Global Zero’, ‘Grand Bargains’, ‘Responsibility to Protect’, ‘Reset’ and ‘Leading From Behind’.  On BS. It marks the triumph of PR talking points over hard strategic thinking.

The worst of it is that altogether too many members of the Gatekeeping class are still of the belief that more of this Obama BS will see things through. It won’t. When you’re in a hole, stop digging. Whatever one can say of Noonan it must be said that though she learned late, she learned.

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99
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