Team Obama will try to present the Russian proposal to get the Syrians to give up their chemical weapons as a brilliant maneuver by Obama and as part of a longer term strategy. But, the reality is that Obama got check mated by Putin. There is no victory here but a major geopolitical defeat that ensures Assad survival while the Iranian position has been strengthened. America today is more vulnerable than ever before and Obama’s reckless policies have led to it.
The time is now to learn the right lesson on how we got here and understand exactly what happened which is that Putin played Obama and Kerry while guaranteeing Assad survival which ensures the defeat of the rebels. Putin chose his side in the civil war and that is Assad. This also strengthens Iran’s position in the region as their ally in Syria looks like the probable winners. Obama did not have a clue what his objectives were in this crisis and even now, there is no real strategic thinking from his team. Obama’s recent speech to the nation was a mass of confusion as he struggled for a theme and did very little to advance his own policy. It only added to the confusion as he failed to enunciate a clear policy and any end game. If Americans weren’t confused before, they would be after the talk and while Democrats spin this as brilliant policy, much of the world views it differently. Our allies are now dismayed and our enemies jubilant since they view America in retreat.
The first lesson is that Obama has managed to isolate America and even our allies have their doubt on our resolve. Worse, Obama has even pissed off many of our closest allies. His behavior to Great Britain has been worse than incompetent when he began his administration by returning Winston Churchill’s bust that was a gift to the American people. When you add his neutrality when Argentina saber rattled over the Falklands, even attempting to pronounce Falkland Island by their Argentina name (which he blew by mistaking the islands for islands in the Indian Ocean), you can understand why Britain said thanks but no thanks to Obama’s great Syrian adventure. Obama has also managed to irritate Canada by simply refusing to approve the Keystone pipeline; quite the unneighborly thing to do.
Even the UN is no longer a dependable place for Obama to do business since Russia and China will veto any strategy they don’t approve of. This should be a lesson to our foreign policy elites. If you take the United Nations seriously, you don’t take foreign policy seriously and if you are serious about foreign policy, then you won’t take the UN seriously. The UN is a fig leaf you occasionally call on but the future is to strengthen our natural alliances. Those alliances includes working with organizations like NATO and our natural allies within the Anglosphere like Great Britain, Canada and Australia. This gives the United States a basis of permanent alliances that can still be part of the 21st century.
Obama’s failure to nurture these natural alliances has led to a situation where he is all alone with no one to back him on his foreign policy plays. His failure to get even Congress to go along is just another demonstration of his incompetence. For those who view the UN as the ultimate might read Putin’s editorial in New York Times and you can understand how the UN will be used to thwart our own ability to defend our national interest.
Obama’s own past behavior along with that of the Democratic Party leadership is also coming home to roost. Obama and many on the left spent much of the Bush years undermining his foreign policy including making it difficult for Bush to deal with Iran and Syria. (Least we forget, Nancy Pelosi paid a visit to Assad in 2007 and both John Kerry and Hillary Clinton viewed him as someone they can work with). For nearly five years, Obama ignored working with Republicans and his own administration’s past like the cover up in Benghazi, the IRS attack on political opponents, secret probes into reporters, the fast and furious scandals et al., hardly endear trust. Further, Obama did not consult with Congress on Libya. After years of attacking Bush and Republicans for their foreign policy and Obama’s disdain for his opponents has now led to a Congress that won’t follow him on this issue. Even during this crisis, Obama was as likely to insult Republicans as to seek their help. And, considering how many were willing at the beginning give him authority; Obama’s attack of Congress’ credibility on foreign soil on the way to the G-20 conference didn’t help. Nor did it help that he denied the famous red line statement. This only led to diminish his credibility further with Congress and the World. Say what you want about George W. Bush, but he managed to lead a coalition and worked with Congress a lot better than Obama ever has.
It has come to this. Putin calls the shot on Syria now. Obama has simply fallen in line to do Putin’s bidding. We are here because of Obama’s policies. He can’t blame on Bush despite his efforts along with others on the left to do exactly that. Unfortunately when the President fails to lead, it doesn’t just affect us but the world.
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