A DANGEROUS GAME—KERRY A MAN OF TALK

11/13/13

“The Persians are taking over Iraq and Syria and building a nuclear weapon. They send Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah troops to fight in Syria and you do nothing? You draw a red line over chemical weapons and let Putin erase it”?
so who said it, Saudi foreign minister Saudi al-Faisal?, King Abdullah of Jordan? The Israelis? The Emiratis? The Moroccans? The Kuwaitis? Lebanese Christians? The list of candidates is long.
Because in private, all these players are saying pretty much the same thing. Saudis have been coming out of the closet in recent weeks with real resentment about the way Obama is changing the rules. They did not expect to see an American desperate for a deal with Iran. None of these American fiends likes the new rules much because it is they who face the risks.
Kerry has been making fine speeches and signing op-eds about acceptable deaths while in Syria perhaps 125,000 to 200,000 are dead, and 6 million persons displaced.
The NYT on Oct. 26 story about Obama’s new “modest” Middle East policy was based on interviews with Susan Rice. We now have these goals in the region: a successful negotiation with Iran, a successful negotiation of Israel-Palestinian peace, and a successful negotiation of the Syrian conflict. Gone is the American power from the region
The Iranians send troops to Syria so we send John Kerry to talk with the Russians. The only thing multiplying faster that Iranian centrifuges are talking points.
Israels Ehud Barak once said that Israel survives in the Middle East not Israelis can quote the bibles, but because they have the best army around—and that’s a view their neighbors all share.
Susan Rice list of American priorities—presumably also obama’s might be Belgium’s: all talk, all conferences, all Brussels and Geneva and the Security Council.
What’s missing: punishing Assad for using chemical weapons after the American president draws a red line. Giving the Syrian nationalist rebels what they need to drive Assad from power and thereby weaken both Iran and Syria. Letting the ayatollahs know they will give up their nuclear weapons programs or see it destroyed
Our allies have not attained the same level of enlightenment about world politics as the obamas team, among whom terms like “victory” and “enemy” are thought outmoded. Our enemies aren’t playing Risk, they’re playing for keeps. Everyone from Morocco to Iran gets that but no one in the White House seems to. Four years since obama went to Cairo to say “as-salamu alaykum and “seek a new beginning between the US and the Muslim-ums around the world”
“I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed”—Obama.
Obama is now reviled by leaders who believe he is either dangerously naïve or indifferent to the risks they face. In Egypt his policies have managed the neat trick of alienating everyone from the Muslim Brotherhood to the army, to the liberals and democrats. In Israel there appears to view drone strike as the apex of America’s assertion of power—and all else as morally ambiguous. They all see the Hobbesian world in which they live. For a while for some decades, the war of all against all was limited by a Pax Americana that imposed some rules. Now those rules can be broken in the face of official American indifference—disguise to be sure in briefings, speeches, and spin as a new strategic approach. David Ignatius a columnist last week called it “strategic humility,” but even he acknowledged that it is “quite dangerous”.
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source—weekly standard, elliot Abrams and above

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