If further indication of foreign policy competence and engagement is required, we have it. The President offered a sterling analysis of American foreign policy failures on 60 Minutes; “bumps in the road” says he. Those “bumps in the road” are in fact dead Americans, sacrificed to failed policy, the inability to anticipate, the brushing away of facts on the ground and the triumph of ideology over reality.
The existential threat to Israel from Iran and a radicalized Arab world is ‘noise’. The President ignores that ‘noise’ and the Israeli Prime Minister along with it. The President can point to sanctions and it is true that current sanctions are the strongest yet. Those sanctions have seriously hurt the Iranian economy;, they have not, however, had any impact on the nuclear program which proceeds apace.
The ‘noise’ from Israel is a desperate cry to establish a firm deterrence related to Iran. The Prime Minister’s base line analysis is that an American ‘red line’ is the key to a last ditch effort at deterrence. His point is that deterrence based on American policy may be the only available option that could avoid a military confrontation. The entire rationale for deterrence is to avoid hot conflict; noise?
Were Israel to act alone against Iran they would do so with American arms. In the Middle Eastern analysis that is equivalent to America actually pulling the trigger. If we are to be blamed, which we will be, why not a strong policy aimed at preventing that eventuality? Noise!
Okay, Osama is dead and terrorists are being killed by drones. I congratulate the President for those efforts. However, those efforts cannot be categorized as strategic thinking. Dead bad guys are a good thing, live bad guys capable of generating intelligence is better. We’re we to execute both possibilities; I would congratulate the president on, as he likes to put it, ‘a balanced approach’.
Killing Osama was a great accomplishment, keeping our mouths shut about it for a week or two so that the intelligence that was gathered could be analyzed before the rats ran to their holes would have demonstrated a maturity of vision and discipline that is clearly absent. The SEAL’s came out of bin Laden’s compound with bags full of intelligence material; there is absolutely no way it could have been analyzed before the President’s announcement of the mission.
Our ‘policy’ of reset has failed. Russia is, if anything, more aggressive. They have blocked sanctions against Iran and support the Assad regime in Syria. Russia is committed to delivering massive amounts of military equipment to Hugh Chavez in Venezuela; Monroe Doctrine indeed! China felt comfortable slapping the Secretary of State around. Support for North Korea, no problem, blocking sanctions against Iran, predictable as China makes massive in investments in the Iranian energy industry. China has also set about the business of creating confrontation and intimidation throughout East Asia. No red line for China in its continuing efforts to intimidate Japan over possession of Japanese islands, in dispute over little more than China’s declaration of their status. Should the U.S. become involved in the aftermath of a strike on Iran the opportunity for China to take aggressive action in East Asia will be served up on a nice silver platter with little that anyone can do about it. If I were in Taiwan, I’d stock up on canned goods.
The Middle East is in flames fed by radicalized Islamists and anti Americanism. The Brotherhood is on the verge of controlling a significant percentage of the Middle Eastern body politic which will result in more ‘flames’ in the region, more anti Americanism, more radicalism and more violence. No red line over religious persecution in Egypt; 100,000 Christians have fled Egypt over the past year.
Friends (what few we have) and enemies alike seem befuddled over American policy or the absence thereof. Perhaps the only thing missing is the ‘noise’ of a fiddle to play as the fires burn.