FANTASY DIPLOMACY

12/4/13 (47H)
JOHN Kerry failed to clear “bracketed text” with his won side in the talks. French foreign minister Laurent Fabius is rightly credited with saving the day and stopping the White House form making a deal that would have given the Iranians virtually everything they wanted for nothing but empty promises”. While the administration spent time warning lawmakers that an additional round of sanctions on Iran would limit the opportunities for diplomacy and inevitably lead to war, traditional American allies were pushing back. France, Israel and Saudi Arabia, among others, are working together to figure out how to avert a catastrophe—for them and for the USA.
Politico gave this advise in an article detailing Obama’s habit of meeting with prestigious reporters and columnist to test-drive his ideas. “If you want to know where the president stands on a foreign policy issue… read the latest column by David Ignatius or Thomas Freidman another frequent sounding board for the president. In reversing his decision to strike Assad, Obama showed both allies and adversaries that he did not keep his word, that he bluffed. And in signing on to the Russian initiative to rid Assad of his chemical weapons, Obama showed he was weak and susceptible to manipulation. Obama’s Syria policy has shown his idea of a multipolar Middle East to be a fantasy. Every token of US weakness has proved a boom for US adversaries and an injury to US allies.
There is not more US debate over Syria policy because the matter has been decided—Obma will not aid the rebels. Obama protected Iranian and Russian interest in Syria while undermining those of his own country and its allies, including Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States as well as Turkey, Jordan and Israel.
But Obama doesn’t really want to topple Assad because that would suggest to Tehran that all his talk of multi-polarity is in bad faith. Why would the Iranian negotiate with the administration if they already had proof that Obama doesn’t really want to integrate them into a new regional order, but just want to defeat them on behalf of his allies under the existing order?
Jordan and Turkey have serious refugee problems, that the refugees crisis threaten to destabilize their ruling parties and their countries. Only the defeat of Assad and new moderate Sunni leadership in Damascus will end the crisis. Time and again, administration officials have leaked information about Israeli strikes on Syrians, Iranian and Hezbollah targets to the press. For Israel the transfer of strategic weapons from Syria to Hezbollah constitutes a threat to national security.
Obama himself seems to run hot and cold on the logic of multipolarity. Ideologically he may be committed to a world where super-powers don’t run things. But for the moment he still wants to force his vision on say Israel and Saudi Arabia. He still wants his allies to march to his tune. White House supporter’s have argued that the Israelis and Saudis finally have no choice but to do what he US wants.
The US owes much of its might to the nature and number of its alliances. Obama seems not to understand that if you really believe in multipolar world, if you treat your allies like anyone else, if you treat them the way you do your adversaries then they maybe make different choices.

Source—weekly standard, lee smith

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