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!