Monday, February 24, 2014

FOD 2014.02.24

The Fed has announced a policy of tapering off its quantitative easing policy. In plain English, that means a reduction in the Federal Reserve's purchase of T-bonds. The intent is to gradually reduce the Fed-backed artificial support of the financial marketplace.

Agree or disagree, but at least the Fed has a plan in mind. Contrast that with America's geopolitical tapering under obama.

The most recent example is obama's pronouncement that if the killing of Ukrainian protesters continues, "There will be consequences if people step over the line."

Sound familiar? That's what he said about Syria's use of chemical weapons. After that fiasco you'd think he would have learned his lesson, but nooo ... he continues to prattle on about some imaginary red line. His latest version drew yawns, laughs, and snorts of disdain.
No one took that warning seriously—Ukrainian government snipers kept on killing people in Independence Square regardless. The world remembers the red line that Mr. Obama once drew over the use of chemical weapons in Syria . . . and then ignored once the line had been crossed.
That it was generally ignored by the rest of the world speaks volumes about how far U.S. influence and prestige has fallen under obama.
The origins of America's geopolitical taper as a strategy can be traced to the confused foreign-policy decisions of the president's first term. The easy part to understand was that Mr. Obama wanted out of Iraq and to leave behind the minimum of U.S. commitments. Less easy to understand was his policy in Afghanistan. After an internal administration struggle, the result in 2009 was a classic bureaucratic compromise: There was a "surge" of additional troops, accompanied by a commitment to begin withdrawing before the last of these troops had even arrived.
In 2009 the Iranian people rose up against the religious leaders thugs running that country. Here was a heaven-sent opportunity to potentially topple a brutal, repressive, and anti-Western regime. What did obama do? He sat idly on the sidelines and waited for events to play themselves out.

In 2011, when the Egyptian people revolted against Hosni Mubarak, obama backed the Muslim Brotherhood. When the Egyptian people revolted against the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government, obama backed the military coup that overthrew it. He stood by and did nothing during the 2011 international move to oust Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi. He also stood by and did nothing in 2012 when four Americans were slaughtered by Libyan terrorists in Benghazi.

To be fair, that last sentence isn't totally accurate. He didn't do nothing - he blamed the attack on a video.

And then there's Syria.
Syria has been one of the great fiascos of post-World War II American foreign policy. When President Obama might have intervened effectively, he hesitated. When he did intervene, it was ineffectual. The Free Syrian Army of rebels fighting against the regime of Bashar Assad has not been given sufficient assistance to hold together, much less to defeat the forces loyal to Assad. The president's non-threat to launch airstrikes—if Congress agreed—handed the initiative to Russia. Last year's Russian-brokered agreement to get Assad to hand over his chemical weapons is being honored only in the breach, as Secretary of State John Kerry admitted last week.

The result of this U.S. inaction is a disaster. At a minimum, 130,000 Syrian civilians have been killed and nine million driven from their homes by forces loyal to the tyrant. At least 11,000 people have been tortured to death. Hundreds of thousands are besieged, their supplies of food and medicine cut off, as bombs and shells rain down.

Worse, the Syrian civil war has escalated into a sectarian proxy war between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, with jihadist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the Nusra Front fighting against Assad, while the Shiite Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds Force fight for him. Meanwhile, a flood of refugees from Syria and the free movement of militants is helping to destabilize neighboring states like Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq...
And obama really can't blame Bush anymore.
Mr. Obama's supporters like nothing better than to portray him as the peacemaker to George W. Bush's warmonger. But it is now almost certain that more people have died violent deaths in the Greater Middle East during this presidency than during the last one.

The scale of the strategic U.S. failure is best seen in the statistics for total fatalities in the region the Bush administration called the "Greater Middle East"—essentially the swath of mainly Muslim countries stretching from Morocco to Pakistan. In 2013, according to the International Institute of Strategic Studies, more than 75,000 people died as a result of armed conflict in this region or as a result of terrorism originating there, the highest number since the IISS Armed Conflict database began in 1998. Back then, the Greater Middle East accounted for 38% of conflict-related deaths in the world; last year it was 78%.
Of course, countering the left's perception of obama with facts to the contrary is a exercise in futility. They claim his moves in the Middle East are all part of a grand plan.
So what exactly is the president's strategy? "It would be profoundly in the interest of citizens throughout the region if Sunnis and Shiites weren't intent on killing each other," the president explained...
Pretty shrewd guy, our president...
Thus far, the U.S. "pivot" from the Middle East to the Asia Pacific region, announced in 2012, is the nearest this administration has come to a grand strategy. But such a shift of resources makes no sense if it leaves the former region ablaze and merely adds to tension in the latter. A serious strategy would surely make some attempt to establish linkage between the Far East and the Middle East. It is the Chinese, not the Americans, who are becoming increasingly dependent on Middle Eastern oil. Yet all the pivot achieved was to arouse suspicion in Beijing that some kind of "containment" of China is being contemplated.
That's all we need - to ratchet up tension between the U.S. and China at a time when our economy is still fragile and our military is being steadily weakened by ongoing budget cuts and eroding morale.

It's time to end Amateur Hour at the White House. Can we please bring back Henry Kissinger? Or Condoleeza Rice? George Schultz? James Baker? Anyone with a basic understanding of geopolitical reality would be a welcome change...


Old NFO said...

That it would be, but 'those' people aren't Dem donors... so fat chance...

CenTexTim said...