Thursday, August 11, 2016

Obama's Greatest Error

Columnist Roger Cohen has made the same point on the opinion pages of the New York Times. Today, Nicholas Kristof adds his voice to those who see Syria as Barack Obama’s greatest mistake, a catastrophic error of historical proportions.

Kristof writes:

… allowing Syria’s civil war and suffering to drag on unchallenged has been his worst mistake, casting a shadow over his legacy. It is also a stain on all of us, analogous to the indifference toward Jewish refugees in the 1930s, to the eyes averted from Bosnia and Rwanda in the 1990s, to Darfur in the 2000s.

In truth, saying that nothing can be done is a cop-out. So, Kristof consults with a general:

“There are many things we can be doing now,” James Cartwright, a retired four-star general who was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told me. “We can do many things to create security in selected areas, protect and stabilize those safe zones and allow them to rebuild their own country even as the conflict continues in other parts of the country.”

Cartwright, who has been called Obama’s favorite general, acknowledges that his proposal for safe zones carries risks and that the American public should be prepared for a long project, a decade or more. But he warns that the risks of doing nothing in Syria are even greater.

When it comes to the refugee crisis that is engulfing the Middle East and Europe, Obama has been like a deer in the headlights; he has done nothing:

While caution within Syria is understandable, Obama’s lack of public global leadership in pushing to help its refugees who are swamping Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey is harder to explain.

Kristof limits his remarks to the crisis in the Middle East, but surely he knows that refugees from Obama’s greatest mistake are also invading Europe. If one were of a slightly more conspiratorial mindset, one might suggest that Obama, a man who hates Western civilization, is not displeased to see Christian Europe overrun by Muslim armies.

It matters that liberal columnists can see that Barack Obama is largely responsible for the creation of ISIS and for the current situation in Syria. And to understand that his failed leadership bears much of the responsibility for the refugee crisis in Europe. 

One notes that Kristof has nothing to say about defeating ISIS. He is, in his heart of hearts, an anti-warrior. 

As it happens the catastrophe that is Syria was produced by the anti-warriors in the Democratic Party. Withdrawal at any price was their motto.


Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: If one were of a slightly more conspiratorial mindset, one might suggest that Obama, a man who hates Western civilization, is not displeased to see Christian Europe overrun by Muslim armies.

Yes, it's good that this is a blog of reason, rather than conspiracy.

But at least we can be certain that neocon President Hillary Clinton won't shirk her duties and won't hesitate to sending troops into harms way in any country that her Clinton foundation donors support, or is that a conspiracy theory? Bush only started two unfunded and undeclared wars, but surely Hillary can try for 3 in her first term to help jump start the country after the great recession of 2017.

It does seem like "Western civilization" is working hard enough at destroying itself with exponentially growing debt than any special need from extremist Muslims to knock us over.

Interestingly Islam forbids lending money on interest, and also against gambling. Perhaps after our final crash, we'll be learning from them?

Really, I do wonder how they get around that? I don't get how you can budget in risk when lending money if some will never be paid back. You'd imagine also that at minimum repayment to cover inflation would make sense. And how do you cover speculation? What are the consequences to failing to repay a zero-interest debt?
Sharia prohibits acceptance of specific interest or fees for loans of money (known as riba, or usury), whether the payment is fixed or floating. Investment in businesses that provide goods or services considered contrary to Islamic principles (e.g. pork or alcohol) is also haraam ("sinful and prohibited").

Although these prohibitions have been applied historically in varying degrees in Muslim countries/communities to prevent un-Islamic practices, only in the late 20th century were a number of Islamic banks formed to apply these principles to private or semi-private commercial institutions within the Muslim community.

Humans are certainly an interesting species. You'd never guess ever greater complexity would work at all. My guess is cheap energy and exploitation of one time resources enables our games and that all sounds like gambling on the future.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Pottery barn rule.