More evidence of our wayward Mideast course....
Obama's "fantasy world" foreign policy portrays him as engaged in all sorts of secret operations, conveyed via intelligence leaks to the press, yet (empty threats to the contrary) is manifestly unwilling to strike nuclear targets inside Iran. Iran's growing conventional military power is raising the risks of intervention, whilst--save for an obligatory stir to protect passage of oil through the Strait of Hormuz--Team Obama slumbers.
With Obama having decided to defer assistance to Syria until after the election, any help to Syrian rebels is bogged down at the UN, the sinkhole into which Team Obama has tossed a considerable slice of American foreign policy:
When officials of the United States or any other country believe they have compelling humanitarian or national-security interests to do something, they do it. When an American president thinks U.S. interests require action, he may reasonably seek political support from the U.N. But it is absurd to make a fetish of Security Council permission, especially if the problem in need of remedy is caused by a close friend of Russia or China and involves the kind of violent, anti-democratic action that Russian and Chinese officials themselves often perpetrate.
Syria's misery is a window into Mr. Obama's strategic mind. However much he regrets the bloodletting there, he considers Syria less important than bolstering the Security Council as a means of constraining American power.
The same was true last year when Moammar Gadhafi was attacking Libyan cities and coming close to the complete annihilation of the rebels. Mr. Obama would not intervene until the Arab League and the Security Council called for action.
By refusing to act on Syria, the president is missing an opportunity to advance U.S. security interests in the Middle East, while benefiting Iran, the principal sponsor of the Assad regime. And by suggesting that America lacks international legal authority to act, he is undermining U.S. sovereignty. Presidents have traditionally striven to bolster America's sovereignty and freedom of action, but Mr. Obama evidently sides with the global legalists who see national sovereignty as a problem to be overcome, not a principle to be cherished.
Obama told the U.N. General Assembly in his annual address that “when we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that will lead to a new member of the United Nations — an independent, sovereign state of Palestine, living in peace with Israel.”
Within days, Israel’s settlement freeze expired and with it the direct talks. After a year and a half of politically costly pressure on Israel, Obama had nothing to show for it, except far less capital to work with at home and a damaged reputation among the Middle East veterans directly involved.
“Around this time, an image was being created that it was pain-free to say no to the United States,” said a former Palestinian adviser to Abbas, who is known informally as Abu Mazen. “There was no sense of awe around the president — and that is essential to the peace process. That is what informed Abu Mazen’s thinking about Obama.”
Despite all this, Barry Rubin sees a secure Israel, as Arab internecine strife distracts attention from Israel. BR sees Palestinian obduracy undercutting Team Obama's efforts to shove Israel into still more unrequited concessions:
An extremely important point to note is how thoroughly the Arabs, and especially the Palestinians, threw away the greatest opportunity they’ve ever had to gain more US support and widen the cracks between Washington and Jerusalem into a chasm. If properly motivated, the Obama administration was ready to become the most pro- Palestinian government in American history, to offer more concessions to the Palestinian Authority (PA), and to put more pressure on Israel than ever seen before.
Instead, they refused to cooperate with Obama, rejecting his initiatives and, in the PA’s case, refusing even to negotiate with Israel. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the PA repeatedly showed the US government that it was the intransigent party. And even if American officials would never publicly admit this, they certainly had to back off, seeing that this was true.
Team Obama's diplomacy may be the most inept in 225 years of intercourse with Muslim lands--the first ratified US-Muslim treaty (with Morocco) dates back to 1787. To Abba Eban's famous dictum that "the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity," we can add a 21st century Obama Corollary: "President Obama rarely misses an opportunity to placate Palestinian grievance."
Bottom Line. Shoving Israel into serial concessions to the Palestinians only fosters more Palestinian intransigence, a commodity already in plentiful supply. Diddling at the UN over Syria, temporizing in the face of Iran's nuclear threat and placating Islamist Egypt in vain hopes of pacifying it, round out the epic--and increasingly dangerous--ineptitude of President Obama's Mideast policy.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Foreign Policy, National secrity, Terrorism, Conservative Politics