IN case anyone was in any doubt, now we know.
Because, if folks imagined otherwise, perish the thought that Barack Obama’s presidency has been anything but a litany of foreign policy flunks, not that his domestic performance has been inspirational.
No, whatever diplomatic disasters there have been under his feeble, two-terms reign are down to the ineptitude, cowardice even, of other world leaders and the man himself feels serially let down.
In a frank and frankly churlish interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, recently published in Atlantic Magazine, the 44th US President absolved himself of all blame in steering the planet closer to World War III.
In a bout of spite-riven self-vindication – which provided an intriguing insight into Obama’s addled thinking – he claimed it was the rest of the West’s failure to turn down the heat on the cauldron of violence inflaming the Middle East and most definitely not his own unstinting, praiseworthy initiatives.
Britain and France, he insisted, were culpable for the chaos that took root in Libya after 2011, because UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, was too ‘distracted by a range of other things’ and the French had voted Nicholas Sarkozy out of office.
Naturally, no mention was made of the President’s ‘lead from the rear’ policy – or that he subcontracted the ouster of Libya’s psychopathic dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, to the combined might of the RAF and French air forces, while the US acted as cheerleader from the sidelines.
His only mistake, Obama admitted magnanimously, was to trust the European allies to implant the seeds of democracy in Libya, instead of allowing the country to lurch into bloody civil war and allow the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) to establish a forward, operating base there.
‘When I go back and I ask myself what went wrong, there’s room for criticism, because I had more faith in the Europeans, given Libya’s proximity, being invested in the follow-up,’ Obama told the magazine.
Quelle naiveté, as the French might say.
Meanwhile, to add insult to further injury, Obama rapped what he branded as Europe’s ‘free rider’ mentality, expanding the theme by saying, ‘What has been a habit over the last several decades in these circumstances is people pushing us to act, but then showing an unwillingness to put any skin in the game.’
On Syria, too, Obama was damning in his denunciation of Europe, notably how the British parliament’s rejection of airstrikes swayed his decision not to enforce his ‘red line’ threat to retaliate against the Assad regime if it continued using chemical weapons (NB: it did and does).
So much, then, for the US/UK ‘special relationship’ and, for that matter, the courage of the President’s own convictions.
Small wonder Bill Clinton dubbed him a ‘wuss’ (whatever one of those is, it didn’t sound complimentary).
Predictably, Obama’s most vehement spleen was directed at Bibi Netanyahu, for whom all diplomatic niceties were jettisoned in favor of a vindictive, personal diatribe rarely – if ever – directed at an ally.
According to Goldberg, Obama long believed the Israeli leader could solve the impasse with the Palestinians and ‘bring about a two-state solution that would protect Israel’s status as a Jewish-majority democracy, but is too fearful and politically paralyzed to do so.’
The writer reported, ‘In one of Netanyahu’s meetings with the President, the prime minister launched into something of a lecture about the dangers of the brutal region in which he lives, and Obama felt that Netanyahu was behaving in a condescending fashion, and was also avoiding the subject at hand: peace negotiations. Finally, the President interrupted the prime minister: ‘Bibi, you have to understand something,’ he said. ‘I’m the African American son of a single mother, and I live here, in this house. I live in the White House. I managed to get elected President of the United States. You think I don’t understand what you’re talking about, but I do.’
Gosh, it sure must have been hellish growing up in Hawaii, not to mention surviving in 'war zones' like upmarket Washington D.C.
The reality, however, is today Obama has no more grasp on the reality of the Middle East than he did in his infamous, 2009 Cairo speech, when he held out the hand of appeasement to the Arabs and they spat in it.
Since then almost every Mid-East policy decision he’s taken has spectacularly backfired, none more so than giving the Armageddon-mad mullahs of Iran carte blanche to wreak further havoc in world’s worst neighborhood and have half a finger on the nuclear trigger.
Apart from empty threats against Assad, pulling Allied forces out of Iraq with unseemly haste – paving the way for ISIS to fill the vacuum – Obama was completely blind-sided by the Arab Spring-cum-Islamic Winter and undermined the freemasonry of despots ruling the region, releasing on it an even worse gang of cutthroats.
Arguably, his one, marquee achievement was hastening Osama bin Laden’s wish to enter Paradise, reportedly down to Hillary Clinton’s powers in persuading the President to temporarily ditch his ‘gung-no’ instincts.
Meanwhile, China – as the BBC’s John Simpson reported – thinks Obama’s a wimp (an opinion echoed by Vladimir Putin); the Muslim Brotherhood saw him as a push-over; and the Taliban are back, giving the corrupt, quasi-democratic Afghan government a murderous kick up their shalwar kameezes.
So, as the sands of time run out on his weak-kneed reign, Obama now threatens to use the United Nations to force a peace settlement down Israel’s throat and dump the inevitable fall-out on his successor.
This would be the final gambit of a spiteful, desperate man, pursuing a ‘path of ego, hubris and vengeance,’ as the New York Daily News noted last week.
However, it is Obama’s only hope of forging an historic legacy and demonstrating that nixing Pax Americana – of refusing to deploy the world’s lone super-power as a globo-cop – was not the folly it’s proved, thus saving his presidency from being branded an abject failure.
And if Israel must pay the price for it, then so be it.

 

 

 


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