1.13.16: Legacy of the president and the nation for Israel and the Arabs

Perhaps nothing better represents President Obama’s legacy as America’s foreign policy administrator than the event that served as backdrop to his final State of the Union speech. Hours before he took the rostrum to describe his achievements over the past seven years, Iran captured two US Navy vessels and took ten US Navy crew prisoners who were forced to apologize to their Iranian captors before being freed the following day. The entire episode was embarrassingly displayed on YouTube, demonstration to the region and the world the temerity and capitulation, obeisance of “the world’s only superpower” at the feet of a Third World backwater, the Islamic Republic of Iran. United States military personnel forced to their knees, hands on heads to further demonstrate the weakness of the hapless superpower. Then insult to injury Iran’s Navy commander announced that he had ordered that the aircraft carrier USS Truman withdraw or face destruction:
Iranian Naval Commander Says US Aircraft Carrier Was Potential Target of Missile Attack
January 13, 2016
An Iranian naval commander revealed that his forces had locked their missiles on a US aircraft carrier, semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Wednesday.
Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, said that the incident occurred during Iran’s seizure Tuesday of two US naval boats and their 10 sailors — who were released Wednesday.
Fadavi said that after the aircraft carrier USS Truman displayed “unprofessional moves,” Iranian naval forces went on high alert. “We prepared our coast-to-sea missiles, missile-launching speedboats and our numerous capabilities, to strike if they made a hostile move,” he said.
Fadavi said that the IRGC Navy warned the Truman to change course. Had it not done so, he claimed, the aircraft carrier would have been fired upon and destroyed.
As if the image of America on her knees before a Third World mini-state was insufficiently embarrassing, as these events were unfolding Secretary of State Kerry was quoted by a top aide as confiding to his Iranian counterpart that, “if we are able to do this in the right way, we can make this into what will be a good story for both of us.”
A “good story” Mr. Kerry, transparent “spin” clearly visible and on the world media stage? Have we lost all dignity, kowtowing to Iranian bluster and exploitation based on our president’s eagerness for legacy, America’s pursuit of a “dignified” escape? For seven years Iran exploited American weakness, our desire to escape the chaos our misguided invasion of Iraq created. Lying to the Arabs, to the Israelis that our intention was to end Iran’s nuclear program while in the end pursuing the apparently reluctant ayatollahs with . repeated efforts to keep a “resistant” Iran at the negotiating table by providing yet more rewards each time they stormed from the negotiations, their purpose to buy time to advance the same nuclear program the US was sworn to end! Seven years “negotiations” and in the end all we could achieve was a dubious assurance of “ten years” respite for the now nuclear threshold state. Crass Machiavellian diplomacy demonstrating not only the weakness of America, but its total unreliability on an expressed assurance to allies. Some achievement! Hitler boasted after Munich that agreements were only as strong as the paper on which they were written.
America’s Munich II.
What have two American presidents representing both American political parties achieved? Three failed states in Iraq, Libya and Syria. His efforts to install the Islamist Muslim Brothers in Egypt survived one year after he deposed President Mubarak: Egypt today is more stable under the stewardship of another general, President al-Sisi. And despite his best efforts the Saudi monarchy survives under the al-Sauds. And Israel, only democracy, island of stability amidst regional chaos remains faithful to the traditional “special relationship” with an America apparently far less committed by outward policy to her regional ally.
And today, following more than seven years of humiliating and “difficult” negotiations with Iran the ayatollahs have achieved their coveted nuclear threshold status all but guaranteeing a regional nuclear arms race (the Saudis are reported as guaranteed several warheads by Pakistan) in violation of Obama’s most dedicated assurance, the pursuit of nuclear non-proliferation. So much for his prematurely awarded Nobel Peace Prize!
This, then, is the “legacy” of President Obama. Not the lofty rhetoric proclaimed before Congress in his State of the Union speech, but illustrated in action in the Arabian Sea just before that speech. Recognizing my obligation at “full disclosure, despite hesitations I voted for Barak Obama in 2007. Two years of Republican Bush adventurism followed by six years of bumbling aftershock strongly recommended the cool demeanor of Democrat Obama to clean up the mess. In addition I share Obama’s obvious “liberal” social agenda and, of course the justice of finally opening the office to black American. By May of Obama’s first year in office he already demonstrated rank ignorance of factors and actors in the region by imposing demands on Israel re the Palestinians: his demand for settlement pause ended, if ever there was possibility, for serious negotiations aimed at peace between the parties. And since then it was all downhill. Hubris, of the left or right, is still poor cover for ignorance and even though it was Bush who committed the US to withdraw from Iraq, for all intents and purposes Obama stuck to the script he inherited from Bush regarding Iran and the Middle East. Ideological “opposites” both. Followed and promoted the same American policy, contributed equally to the promotion of radical Islamism. Neither is it likely that whomever replaces the past presidential representatives of their respective parties will be less stupid in the abandonment of the now far more nettlesome Middle East: America’s policy of cut and run, leave it for the next White House incumbent to deal with the fallout.