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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Obama's Foreign Policy Leaves the Middle East in Shambles: The End of Kumbaya Diplomacy

Perhaps you recall how The Washington Post's David Ignatius declared on March 31, 2015 that "the nation that chanted in unison 'Death to America' is probably gone forever." Well today, in a must-read New York Times article entitled "Iran’s Missile Tests Remind the U.S. That Hostilities Have Not Ended," Helene Cooper and David E. Sanger inform us:

"[T]he past few days have been full of sobering reminders that the grander objective of [the nuclear accord with Iran] — some gradual steps toward an era of wary cooperation, or at least a cessation of hostilities between Washington and Tehran — remains a long way away.

Just last week, the Republican-led Congress inserted new rules into the budget signed by Mr. Obama that were clearly intended to discourage foreigners from doing business with Tehran. Then on Saturday, the Iranian Navy harassed an American aircraft carrier and a French frigate in the Strait of Hormuz, launching rockets that passed within 1,500 yards of the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman. It seemed an act somewhere between recklessness and outright aggression.

So much for détente."

Or more to the point, so much for Obama's unsigned "legacy-creating" nuclear deal with Khamenei. There is no way that Tehran will placidly accept new American sanctions stemming from Iran's recent ballistic missile tests in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.

Meanwhile, over at The Washington Post, Liz Sly has written an equally important article entitled "On the front lines of the war against the Islamic State, a tangled web," which observes:

"[T]he Islamic State is but one of a multitude of groups competing for territory and dominance over the collapsed nation states of Iraq and Syria — a symptom as much as a cause of the scramble for power unleashed by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the 2011 revolt in Syria.

The Islamic State may or may not be vanquished soon — and a string of defeats inflicted in recent months in northeastern Syria, northern Iraq and most recently Ramadi have raised hopes that its demise may be closer than had been thought.

But already it is becoming clear that victory over the militants won’t end the bloodshed in the region, said Fawaz Gerges, a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

'There is little thought being given to the morning after, and the morning after is going to be as bloody, as chaotic and as destabilizing as the situation we are seeing now,' he said. 'The heart of the Middle East has changed. The fragile state system is no longer there.'"

Indeed, Syria and Iraq were never nation-states, but rather entities randomly carved out of the Ottoman Empire by the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement between Britain and France.

Moreover, it is time for the US to prepare Ankara for an independent Kurdistan, notwithstanding the deep-seated enmity of Erdogan and friends to Turkey's Kurdish minority. The Middle East's 30 million Kurds, long friendly to America, deserve their freedom.


  1. Hi, Jeffrey, have a healthy, peaceful and happy New Year.
    I am a former reader and commenter who became burned out by the intensity of the events and retreated slightly from online participation.
    I think I am ready to come back.
    Thank you and again - all the best.

    1. Thank you so much for you kind wishes. I can certainly understand your exhaustion. I often find myself wondering if it was always this bad, or, is it a consequence of the proximity and near omniscience provided by the Internet. In any event, I will be downing more than one shot of vodka tonight.

    2. JG: what has changed is Russia's actions to somehow destroy Wahhabism.

      You need more than vodka shots if you think the USA will "prepare Ankara for an independent Kurdistan"

      THAT might be a Merkel-Putin task, as this WH still believes in colonial borders, post-modern whatever, and that the real enemy is climate change. Surprised the New Year's Rose Bowl Parade is not being protested as bad for climate change, and inherently racist against weeds...

      This is no longer Harry S. Truman's Democratic Party.

      still here, altho moving soon, k