Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Arab Spring, American Policy Failure

One year into the Arab Spring it’s looking like America has come out a loser.

It’s not just that no one is talking about what is going on in our former allies, but those who are seem still to believe that things are turning out well.

Thus, it’s worthwhile taking the measure of the Obama-Clinton approach to foreign policy by reviewing the regress of the Arab Spring.

Our guide in this matter is Caroline Glick. Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Glick explains:  
TO UNDERSTAND the depth and breadth of America's losses, consider that on January 25, 2011, most Arab states were US allies to a greater or lesser degree. Mubarak was a strategic ally. Saleh was willing to collaborate with the US in combating al- Qaida and other jihadist forces in his country.

Gaddafi was a neutered former enemy who had posed no threat to the US since 2004. Iraq was a protectorate. Jordan and Morocco were stable US clients.

One year later, the elements of the US's alliance structure have either been destroyed or seriously weakened. US allies like Saudi Arabia, which have yet to be seriously threatened by the revolutionary violence, no longer trust the US. As the recently revealed nuclear cooperation between the Saudis and the Chinese makes clear, the Saudis are looking to other global powers to replace the US as their superpower protector.

Perhaps the most amazing aspect to the US's spectacular loss of influence and power in the Arab world is that most of its strategic collapse has been due to its own actions. In Egypt and Libya the US intervened prominently to bring down a US ally and a dictator who constituted no threat to its interests. Indeed, it went to war to bring Gaddafi down.

Moreover, the US acted to bring about their fall at the same time it knew that they would be replaced by forces inimical to American national security interests. In Egypt, it was clear that the Muslim Brotherhood would emerge as the strongest political force in the country. In Libya, it was clear at the outset of the NATO campaign against Gaddafi that al-Qaida was prominently represented in the anti-regime coalition. And just as the Islamists won the Egyptian election, shortly after Gaddafi was overthrown, al-Qaida forces raised their flag over Benghazi's courthouse.”

She continues: “In sharp contrast to his active interventionism against US-allied regimes, President Barack Obama has prominently refused to intervene in Syria, where the fate of a US foe hangs in the balance.

Obama has sat back as Turkey has fashioned a Syrian opposition dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Arab League has intervened in a manner that increases the prospect that Syria will descend into chaos in the event that the Assad regime is overthrown.

Obama continues to speak grandly about his vision for the Middle East and his dedication to America's regional allies. And his supporters in the media continue to applaud his great success in foreign policy. But outside of their echo chamber, he and the country he leads are looked upon with increasing contempt and disgust throughout the Arab world.

Obama's behavior since last January 25 has made clear to US friend and foe alike that under Obama, the US is more likely to attack you if you display weakness towards it than if you adopt a confrontational posture against it. As Assad survives to kill another day; as Iran expands its spheres of influence and gallops towards the nuclear bomb; as al- Qaida and its allies rise from the Gulf of Aden to the Suez Canal; and as Mubarak continues to be wheeled into the courtroom on a stretcher, the US's rapid fall from regional power is everywhere in evidence.

1 comment:

Tilda Tally-ho said...

Not relevant to this post, but here's a wonderful quote I just found that I thought you would appreciate. "Hard work, intelligent choice, and self-discipline should be rewarded, and society bears no obligation to compensate for differences attributable to sloth, stupidity, and self-indulgence" (John Kekes, 2006). If only we ran our country by those words!