Friday, December 23, 2011

Reckless Disengagement

In the Middle East the Obama administration has implemented a policy of reckless disengagement.

Of course, the administration began by siding with the demonstrators in Cairo. It helped push out Mubarak and actively helped remove Qaddhafi.

After that, reckless disengagement.

The administration had no idea of what would come after the overthrow of the tyrants. It seemed to have a naïve faith that something good would come out of it all. Isn't rebellion always positive?

Today, to take Egypt as the case in point, things are deteriorating before our eyes. And the crack Obama-Clinton foreign policy team has no idea what to do.

We do not know how events will unfold in Libya, but since Benghazi greeted the overthrow of Qaddhafi by flying all of its al Qaeda flags, we do best not to get our hopes up.

As of now it looks like the beneficiaries of the Arab Spring will be Islamist parties and Islamist terrorists.

For a time it looked as though Iraq was going to be a beacon for multi-cultural democracy in the Middle East. Three years of Obama-Clinton foreign policy ineptitude has dashed those hopes.

While Obama is bragging about how he brought down Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, it looks like he has helped put al Qaeda back in business in Iraq and Syria.

One day Obama was standing with Nouri al-Maliki proclaiming victory in Iraq and telling the world that the democratically elected government could deal with domestic terrorism and insurgency.

The next day Baghdad was in flames. Yesterday’s bombings were the work either of Sunni insurgents or al Qaeda factions.

As Jon Lee Anderson posted on The New Yorker site, the terrorists did not even wait a decent interval before beginning their campaign.

Obama’s is a diplomatic more than a military failure.

The failure began when the Clinton State Department appointed Christopher Hill the Ambassador to Iraq in 2009. In place of experienced Iraq and Middle East hand Ryan Crocker the administration sent over a man who had no experience in the Middle East.

It was an astonishingly stupid mistake. The political situation has been getting worse ever since.

When the Obama administration failed to negotiate an agreement that would have allowed American troops to stay, the ground was set for a resumption of violence.

In many ways American troops were the glue that was holding the country together. Military leaders insisted that Iraq required the presence of a significant number of American soldiers on the ground.

Since Obama is ideologically predisposed to see American troops as an occupying force, he pretended to negotiate a commitment with the Maliki government and then fell back on a policy of reckless disengagement.

Peter Wehner offers a sobering assessment of where Obama has gotten us. It may be too soon to pronounce it a major policy failure, but still Obama has done everything in his power to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

In Wehner’s words: “Until now, Iraq had made impressive strides since the civil war that almost consumed it in 2006. But it has been a fragile affair. Iraq, and especially the Sunnis and Kurds, needed an American presence to continue to help bind up the wounds of the war. It was perfectly predictable that if America withdrew its troops, trouble would follow. And now trouble has come, only a week after the president declared Iraq to be ‘sovereign, self-reliant, and democratic.’

“It is quite amazing that Maliki would begin what the Wall Street Journal rightly calls a ‘putsch’ against his Sunni coalition partners so shortly after having met with President Obama. This is yet more evidence of the diplomatic skills our community-organizer-turned-president brought to the job. Indeed, having the United States steadily pull away from Maliki since Obama assumed office has created and exacerbated many of the problems we now face. And they are about to get a good deal worse. Now begins what the celebrated Arab writer Adonis called a ‘march backwards into the sun’.”


Dennis said...

Obama and his minions have a "Mary had a Little Lamb" approach to foreign policy. The problem is that without real leadership they are never going to find their way home.
As usual Obama traded the political for reality and will contribute to a large number of deaths here and every where else in the future.

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