US-Created System In Iraq Is Collapsing: Protesters Storm Parliament, State of Emergency Declared - Live Webcast
. . . the man was handed a resolved recession, and a stable world where America was respected. He, and his foreign policy architect, Hillary Clinton, took great pains to utterly destroy every accomplishment.
How much must this man hate America?
It is impossible to even come to grips with the destruction. Central Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, the Near East, Europe, Russia, Eastern Europe/Ukraine/Georgia, the South China Sea, North Korea, are all building catastrophes. The collapse of the BRICS economies was unnecessary. The implosion of many parts of South America Venezuela/Brazil/Argentina was unnecessary. Yet neither the President nor his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had viable plans to address any of these or any of the other problems facing the world.
This has been the most incompetent Administration in my lifetime; the most destructive of democracy, free markets, liberty, and the most encouraging of tyranny, terror, and hate.
An election looms, choose wisely.
Can she fix it?
. . . no, and she has no ideas which would even move it towards a fix.
"Mrs Clinton is experienced. In an age of extremes she has remained resolutely centrist. Yet, rather than thrilling to the promise of taking the White House or of electing America’s first woman president, many Democrats seem joyless."
Experienced? What experience? We think of experience as a positive element in such analysis. But Clinton's experiences are either diaphanous or negative. Her legislative experiences simply do not exist. She did little while in the Senate. Her experiences at State are negative, she is the architect of President Obama's disastrous foreign policy which brought us Libya and the collapse of North, and Central Africa, Syria and the metastasizing cancer that is the European refugee crisis, the new aggressive China as represented by its actions in the South China Sea, and a rampaging Russia terrorizing the former Soviet states from the Baltics, to Georgia, to Ukraine, to the 'stans.
"To gauge Mrs Clinton’s programme, start with the Clintonomics that her husband pursued in the mid-1990s. Broadly, it got the big things right by transforming a tax-and-spend party into one that took deficits seriously. Under Bill Clinton, the Democrats made peace with Wall Street and free trade, and agreed to ambitious welfare reform. Thanks to these sensible policies, and the fortuitous tailwind of higher productivity growth, the economy boomed and prosperity was shared."
While essentially true, it was Hillary who pushed her husband to the left at the beginning of his Presidency, with her dream of socialized medicine, and Hillary Care. This was a disastrous idea, and one which Americans nearly charged Clinton with the price of the Presidency. But as the Economist infers, Bill changed his position, moved smartly to the center, teamed up with Republicans, and became the free trade, welfare reform, deficit hawk, and yes this re-inflated the Reagan boom, which had been initially charged by tax reform/streamlining, and regulation reform.
Hillary is no Bill Clinton, to the contrary, Hillary is the opposite of Bill.
Hillary's plan will not take America in a positive direction, her foreign policies will further erode stability in the world. We will need to look elsewhere for answers.
Rising Threats: Shrinking Military
. . . a man incapable of building a high quality staff to help him run his administration.
The quality of a President's staff is critically important to his decision making. President Obama had a staff of such low quality it resulted in the shocking chaos we see in the world today.
For example, President Obama's feckless policy in Libya has resulted in the metastization of militant radical islam through out much of northern, and central Africa. The Middle East, and the Near East are in incredible turmoil.
Military spending is increasing, a sure sign of the breakdown of the Pax Americana which has successfully maintained a more peaceful world since 1945.
The Global Vote of No Confidence in Pax Americana
"What’s forgotten among all the grousing by President Obama and Donald Trump about ‘free riding’ allies is this basic fact of international life: the Pax Americana was intended to suppress global geopolitical and military competition by providing a framework for international security. That benefitted the world by making countries safer at a lower cost and by assuring people that their national defense and access to world trade and markets did not require them to build huge military establishments."
No one is willing to rely on the assurance that America will provide a framework of international security.
While Walter Russell Mead is correct that the kvetching about free riders is over the top, it is also true that Americans are becoming tired of continually saving the world at our own cost, having the rest of the world plow their peace dividend (the money they didn't have to spend to achieve peace) into social programs, and then lecture us about how we need to toe the social welfare line. We paid billions to rebuild those countries after WWII, we paid billions more to protect them, since 1945. We created the Pax Americana, a massive and costly effort to keep the world but especially the Europeans, and Asians from murdering tens of millions more of their own. And what do we get?
Pissing and moaning like adult children still living in their parents basement. They are so militarily incompetent, they cannot project power from Europe to Europe (the Balkans in the 1990s), or Libya, or Syria. Such efforts require a force mostly comprised of the US. They free ride on medical treatments, procedural advancements, new devices, and pharmaceuticals. In addition, they have created societies so uninteresting and lackluster, no one within them wants to have babies. They simply want to consume whatever they can before they die. If Europe wants to slowly die through demographic suicide, I am not sure I am concerned about their forward security.
The President could prod these countries for changes which would likely reinvigorate them, but he will not. He is an inexperienced fool who does not understand the responsibility inherent in the office.
His policies reflect this, and these interviews with his former Secretaries of Defense confirm it. These interviews are deeply shocking. They reveal a man who would be at home in a pot fueled freshman bull session, but completely adrift in the real world, and even worse in the presidency.
I am nonplussed.
Does Obama Have This Right?
. . . has Friedman ever been right?
"Sulaimaniya, Iraq — As one could see from President Obama’s recent interview in The Atlantic, he pretty much hates all the Middle East’s leaders including those of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Iran and the Palestinians.
Obama’s primary goal seems to be to get out of office being able to say that he had shrunk America’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, prevented our involvement on the ground in Syria and Libya, and taught Americans the limits of our ability to fix things we don’t understand, in countries whose leaders we don’t trust, whose fates do not impact us as much as they once did.
After all, the president indicated, more Americans are killed each year slipping in bathtubs or running into deer with their cars than by any terrorists, so we need to stop wanting to invade the Middle East in response to every threat.
That all sounds great on paper, until a terrorist attack like the one Tuesday in Brussels comes to our shores. Does the president have this right?"
No! We know this because Friedman goes on to say, "Visiting here in northern Iraq, in Kurdistan, and talking to a lot of Iraqis leaves one thinking Obama is not entirely wrong."
"But sitting here also makes you wonder if Obama hasn’t gotten so obsessed with defending his hand’s-off approach to Syria that he underestimates both the dangers of his passivity and the opportunity for U.S. power to tilt this region our way — without having to invade anywhere. Initially, I thought Obama made the right call on Syria. But today the millions of refugees driven out of Syria — plus the economic migrants now flooding out of Africa through Libya after the utterly botched Obama-NATO operation there — is destabilizing the European Union."
This does not require any wondering, the EU is a mess because of the Libyan fiasco, and the Syrian fiasco. All of the Middle East, and all of the Northern third of Africa are under stress, and turmoil because of these failings. Now Europe more generally is caught in the conflagration.
"Kurdistan and Tunisia are just what we dreamed of: self-generated democracies that could be a model for others in the region to follow. But they need help. Unfortunately, Obama seems so obsessed with not being George W. Bush in the Middle East that he has stopped thinking about how to be Barack Obama here — how to leave a unique legacy and secure a foothold for democracy … without invading."
One of these, Tunisia is a Bush legacy, the other should have been, but Bush failed to take the correct action and allow the division of Iraq into pieces. This would have resulted in at least a tripartite separation between the Kurds, the Shia, and the Sunni. Instead, Bush retained the incompetent colonial boundary. This was an appeasement of Turkey.
The disasters spilling from Obama's actions, and failures dwarf the problems we saw from the Bush failure vis-a-vis the Kurds. While Obama has had 7 years to correct these problems, he has done nothing constructive, to the contrary he has acted foolishly, expanding the problem to North Africa, and Europe. Atta boy, Barack!
President Obama has little time remaining to finish the destruction of America's standing in the world, so he steps ever harder on the accelerator
Walther Russell Mead is a favorite, a liberal with a clarion understanding of international relations. If you do not, you should read every one if his posts. Go ahead, I'm married with family, I am nothing if not patient, I'll wait right here.
Back, good, right?!
The Obama Doctrine
The article starts, "Friday, august 30, 2013, the day the feckless Barack Obama brought to a premature end America’s reign as the world’s sole indispensable superpower—or, alternatively, the day the sagacious Barack Obama peered into the Middle Eastern abyss and stepped back from the consuming void . . . " This artfully points out the comedic nature of the chosen headline. The last word the knowledgable use to describe President Feckless ODither would be "sagacious."
Obama, if not sagacious, is a mid-19th Century Cold Warrior. "Obama, unlike liberal interventionists, is an admirer of the foreign-policy realism of President George H. W. Bush and, in particular, of Bush’s national-security adviser, Brent Scowcroft (“I love that guy,” Obama once told me). Bush and Scowcroft removed Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait in 1991, and they deftly managed the disintegration of the Soviet Union; Scowcroft also, on Bush’s behalf, toasted the leaders of China shortly after the slaughter in Tiananmen Square. As Obama was writing his campaign manifesto, The Audacity of Hope, in 2006, Susan Rice, then an informal adviser, felt it necessary to remind him to include at least one line of praise for the foreign policy of President Bill Clinton, to partially balance the praise he showered on Bush and Scowcroft."
It is difficult to place Bush since his Presidency spanned the fall of the USSR, and the end of the Cold War. Bush seemed to misunderstand what that meant. It is easy to understand Bush's problem here, he was a WWII vet who lived and fought before the Cold War, way back when the US and the USSR were putative allies. He then spent his entire career working politically to undermine and overthrow the evil empire responsible for the Cold War. Once it came, he was at a loss. President Feckless ODither has no such excuse, he never had any involvement in fighting the Cold War, instead, he seems nothing more than a Cold War romantic.
And what is a Cold War Romantic to do in the face of modern chaos, and warfare? "'The message Obama telegraphed in speeches and interviews was clear: He would not end up like the second President Bush—a president who became tragically overextended in the Middle East, whose decisions filled the wards of Walter Reed with grievously wounded soldiers, who was helpless to stop the obliteration of his reputation, even when he recalibrated his policies in his second term. Obama would say privately that the first task of an American president in the post-Bush international arena was “Don’t do stupid shit.”
A doctrine this simple should have been easy to follow, but President Feckless ODither failed right out of the box, but his failures are unlike the Bush père failures, his failures are of the naif, inexperienced in all, who does not understand both action, and inaction pose equal danger. But then Obama, a man without even a hint of military experience, had the hubris to believe he was a greater adviser than his advisers. He has one position in the bag, he is without a doubt a greater fool than his Administration's Fool, that's a White House job, right?
The article is long but worth your time. Obama plays the feckless prat, Hillary shows up as the interventionist , and Old Joe Biden plays the old sage forcefully arguing that "big nations don't bluff." Obama, invigorated, mans the ramparts, and orders the military to stand ready. And with the cold light of day, becomes "queasy" and takes a powder. Classic Obama, feckless, and dithering to the bitter end. Jellyfish have more spine.
"The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing." Although appending the phrase "good man" to President Obama is a bit of a stretch. At best, he could be considered a neutral. He seems a man with no discernible moral, or ethical compass. The Obama Doctrine, "don't do stupid shit, " is more a CYA self protection device than it is a doctrine. But this is all one should expect from a man whose sole drive to become President of the United States was to have "President of the United States" at the top of his resume. Obama puts to rest the argument that the first half of the Boomer cohort, which the Clinton's represent, are somehow more venal, and self serving than the second half, which the Obama's represent.
Walter Russell Mead weighs in on another important topic within the article.
"The fallout from President Obama’s indiscreet remarks in Jeffrey Goldberg’s landmark Atlantic article has begun. One day after the article dropped, reports of the President dissing major world leaders and close allies fill the London papers, which highlight Obama’s belittling of David Cameron. The Times of London‘s headline blares, “Obama Lays Blame for Libya Mess on Cameron,” and continues:
In highly unusual criticism of a serving British prime minister from his American ally, Mr Obama claimed that Mr Cameron stopped paying attention soon after the 2011 military operation because he was “distracted by a range of other things”.
Mr Obama also made clear that he forced Mr Cameron to sign up to Nato’s benchmark of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence. “Free riders aggravate me,” he told The Atlantic magazine, which reported that he instructed Mr Cameron “to pay your fair share” during a G7 summit last year.
The Financial Times (“Obama Criticizes ‘Free Riding’ Allies in 2011 Libya Campaign”) notes that the French came in for a beating too:
Mr Obama said that British prime minister David Cameron was “distracted” in the months after the death of Mr Gaddafi and suggested that then French president Nicolas Sarkozy was more interested in trying to “trumpet” his country’s involvement in air strikes in Libya than ensuring a peaceful transition to a new government.[..]
In an interview in which the president already appeared to be letting down his guard with 10 months still left in office, some of Mr Obama’s most pointed comments were directed at Mr Cameron.[..]
On the French role in the Libyan campaign, Mr Obama said that “Sarkozy wanted to trumpet the flights he was taking in the air campaign, despite the fact that we had wiped out all the air defences and essentially set up the entire infrastructure” for the intervention.
Expect more shoes to drop—and the anger in London and Paris will be less damaging than the fallout in other parts of the world. For instance, the Iranians are starting to weigh in:
(Laura Rosen tweet:) Adviser to Iran president citing Obama on Iran/KSA need to share Middle East, work out a cold peace …
The Iranian trumpeting of Obama’s position will almost certainly not be warmly received in Riyadh, Dubai, and Amman."
An American President, a feckless, dithering, decisionally impaired fool, has the temerity to blame other leaders for his incompetence?! But of course, President Feckless ODither has been blaming anyone, and everyone for his incompetence since taking the oath of office. This is his seminal accomplishment, blaming others, and whinging about how hard his job is while only making vague attempts to perform the duties, then going golfing, or spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars vacationing. We should have simply bought an island, and ship him off for the duration. Even that idiot pretender Biden could not have done worse.
One thing we need to do post haste is to begin pressuring the calcified cankers which remain in the Middle East, primarily Saudi Arabia, and its Salafist/Wahhabist supporters to begin an Islamic "protestant reformation." The Saudi/Wahhabist association has become as horrible, and deadly as the Catholic church prior to the Protestant Reformation. The cure for this is for the US to begin to create better relations with Iran, while politically pressuring the House of Saud for reform. If that does not happen, we may need to support Iran and the Shite factions in what appears to be a building war of reformation. While this is not a significant point made in the Atlantic article, it is necessary, post haste.
Mead ends his piece: "This sets up an odd duality: the President in the interview is reflective, thoughtful, making a strong case for why he is wiser and more far seeing than other people. But on the other hand, running your mouth and being openly contemptuous and dismissive of fellow leaders to a journalist is the mark of a careless and clumsy amateur. As so often is the case with this President, there’s a wide gap between the cerebral processes and the ill-considered actions. This would be somewhat explicable in the rookie year of a presidency, but it’s very hard to understand in the final year of an Administration."
The answer to this enigma is that the actions are Obama's own, clumsy, amateurish, the naif in over his head. The later reflective, thoughtful is the spin his handlers/advisers feed him to respond to the accurate claims of incompetence. Obama is not stupid by any account, he is inexperienced, and he was Peter Principled years ago, and once PP'ed no one can learn, or gain experience, this is like the child who missed out on 4th - 7th grade math, unquestionably lost. The the only solution to this problem is to return to the experiences missed and gain the experiences the old fashioned way, by crucible. Obama emotionally cannot do this, and will never go back. He is terminally incompetent.
But looking back at the Obama Presidency is valueless. What we must do now is look forward, and determine what we, as a nation need going forward. We need to leave the hoary old Cold War mentality once and for all, and we need to seriously rethink our goals in the Middle East, and our strategy to achieve those goals. Obama cannot do this, it will be up to the next President. The time of choosing is at hand.