American Elephants


There Are Also Consequences to Not Having a Foreign Policy. by The Elephant's Child

In the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan says:

Sept. 11 started the century and brought forward the face of terrorism. It is still there and will continue to cause grave disruptions. Since then we have seen we are living in a time of uprisings, from the Mideast to Africa to the streets of Kiev. We are learning that history isn’t over in Europe, that East-West tensions can simmer and boil over, that the 20th century didn’t resolve as much as many had hoped.

A Mideast dictator last year used poison gas on his own population and strengthened his position. He’s winning. What does that tell the other dictators? What does it suggest about our future?

At the American Enterprise Institute, John Bolton writes:

President Obama has three significant Middle East diplomatic initiatives underway, treating, respectively, Iran’s nuclear weapons program; Syria’s deadly, exhausting conflict; and the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Into these negotiations, Obama and his administration have poured enormous amounts of American prestige, time and effort.

Although rarely considered collectively, these three efforts constitute a significant strategic package for a White House that all too often hardly bothers with foreign policy. These initiatives truly reflect Obama’s view of America’s international role: His is a world of rhetoric and talk, not power.

Thus, Iran has not feared U.S. military strikes against its nuclear weapons program, and now, as a result of November’s interim agreement in Geneva, it does not even fear international economic sanctions. Neither the Bashar Assad regime nor Al Qaeda terrorists in Syria see any prospect of material U.S. intervention. And the main pressure being applied in the Israeli-Palestinian matter is against Israel, heretofore Washington’s strongest regional ally.

The Obama administration’s three initiatives will come to naught because they are based on error. Iran uses negotiations to buy time to continue work on their nuclear program. Obama thought Russia shared his objective of a peaceful transition from the horror of the use of chemical weapons on his own people, to something else. We could have dealt with it directly by helping the opposition in Syria, or tackling the problem’s root cause, the regime of the mullahs in Tehran.

We don’t seem to know who our friends are. The Palestinians have no legitimate governing institutions that are capable of hard decisions, like making compromises or overcoming resistance from Hamas or other terrorists. A regime that trains its small children to grow up to be suicide bombers is not going to make reliable agreements about anything.

Failing to understand reality, and failing to grasp the consequences of such failure weakens the United States and emboldens our enemies.

An interview with Col. Austin Bay pointed out that there are approximately 200 wars going on currently in Africa — real wars.

Venezuela is falling apart. Their foreign minister blames the United States and called US Secretary of State John Kerry a “murderer” who has fomented unrest that has killed 28 people in their country. Since street demonstrations began against President Nicholas Maduro’s socialist government in early February, Venezuelan ministers have been accusing Washington of stirring u[ the country’s worst political troubles in a decade. President Maduro says that a bird is giving him advice from the late President Chavez.

There’s more, of course. Argentina is in deep trouble, our newly appointed ambassador neither speaks the language, nor has ever been to Argentina, but did provide significant funds for Obama’s reelection.

Qatar hosts the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command, but also supports the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and radical Sunni outfits in Syria. Support for Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels was too much for Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the U.A.E. all recalled their ambassadors from Qatar.

And so the World turns on, altering and illuminating the affairs of man. Or something like that.



President Barack Obama’s Foreign Policy: by The Elephant's Child

“Secretary of State John Kerry warned that there will be serious repercussions for Russia on Monday if last-ditch talks over the weekend to resolve the crisis in Ukraine failed to persuade Moscow to soften its stance.” That’s the Washington Examiner. And the repercussions are? The New York Times said Russian Troops and armored vehicles were massing in at least three regions along Ukraine’s eastern border. Angela Merkel warned that the Russian Government must abandon what she called the politics of the 19th and 20th centuries or face diplomatic and economic retaliation from a united Europe. Retaliation?

Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov made it clear that President Putin is not prepared to make any decision regarding Ukraine until after the referendum on Sunday. (Washington Post) Putin was prepared to let the referendum go ahead despite warnings that it would violate both Ukrainian and international law. Kerry warned that “there will be consequences.”

Secretary Kerry said he offered assurances during the talks that the United States is not trying to threaten Russia.”We’re not trying to challenge Russia’s rights or interests” in Ukraine. But he said that he and President Obama are convinced that “there is a better way for Russia to pursue its legitimate interests in Ukraine.”

Lila Shevtsova, a member or the American Interest editorial board and a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center, says that we are falling into Putin’s trap.”Russia,” she says “is a ‘unique’ civilization and must contain the demoralized West: Russia can only exist as a galactic center, around which orbit satellite-statelets; Russia is the civilizational pillar whose mission is to defend ‘traditional values’ globally.”

Peggy Noonan notes in The Wall Street Journal   that what is happening in the Ukraine is demanding our attention, demanding that we focus.

The most obvious Ukraine point has to do with American foreign policy in the sixth year of the Obama era.

Not being George W. Bush is not a foreign policy. Not invading countries is not a foreign policy. Wishing to demonstrate your sophistication by announcing you are unencumbered by the false historical narratives of the past is not a foreign policy. Assuming the world will be nice if we’re not militarist is not a foreign policy.

What is our foreign policy? Disliking global warming?

Ouch.




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