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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Obama's Foreign Policy: The End of Days?

The Middle East is fast coming to a boil, and meanwhile the Obama administration is doing what it does best: nothing. Prior to yesterday's meeting between Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri and President Obama in Washington, we were informed by the White House:

"'We obviously have grave concerns about the transfer of any missile capability to Hezbollah through Lebanon from Syria,' a senior Obama administration official told Reuters, saying the issue would likely be raised in Monday's talks."

"Grave concerns" about the transfer of Scuds and M600's to Hezbollah? Examine the AP photo of Obama's meeting with Hariri and determine for yourself whether there is any "gravity" evident in either of these leaders' expressions ( It should be observed that Hariri recently went on record as denying any missile transfer whatsoever from Syria to Hezbollah:

"'Where is the proof that Hezbollah has these missiles,' Hariri asked, adding that 'Israel possesses nuclear weapons.'

He also refused 'to ask Hezbollah to deny the possession of such weapons,' saying, 'Why put ourselves in the position of being accused, and why give Israel the right to make such accusations?'"

There should have been nothing jovial in this meeting between Obama and Hariri. Notwithstanding his father's murder by Syria's President Assad, Hariri has again reduced Lebanon to the status of a vassal state subservient to Damascus, owing to the decline of U.S. prestige throughout the Middle East. As observed by Syria's Assad in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica also on Monday, the United States has lost its influence in the Middle East, and Assad continues to scorn Obama's offer to reinstate an American ambassador to Damascus.

Further evidence of America's loss of credibility and deterrent capacity in the Middle East can be found in Turkey's willingness to facilitate the proposed nuclear fuel swap deal for half of Iran's nuclear stockpile, which is intended to derail the sanctions package sought by the U.S. The sanctions package itself could only be arranged after the U.S. lifted sanctions against three Russian entities accused of assisting Iran develop nuclear and missile technology, and a fourth Russian organization which has been selling anti-tank guided missiles to Syria. The door is also now open for Russia to proceed with its sales of advanced S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran.

End of days? No, I'm not a devotee of eschatology, but without U.S. willingness to get tough with nations other than Israel, Middle East tension will reach explosive levels this summer, and Israel is facing an existential threat no less daunting than that which it faced in 1967 and 1973.

1 comment:

  1. Compare Obama's casual smiling pose while sitting opposite Hariri with Obama's stony pained expression when standing beside Netanyahu.

    Obama could well become the president who fiddled while Rome burned.