The foreign policy quandary facing President Barack Obama is that America’s traditional allies in the Middle East – Israel and Saudi Arabia – along with Official Washington’s powerful neocons have effectively sided with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State out of a belief that Iran represents a greater threat to Israeli and Saudi interests.
As with a lot of commentators, Parry assumes we are dealing with rational human beings. We are not. The people managing these events in the Middle East are crazed sociopaths. They want Syria and Iran destabilized and destroyed as part of the overall strategy for U.S. hegemony outlined in the Project for a New American Century documents. The resulting carnage, both physical and financial, means nothing to them.
Obama doesn’t face any fateful decisions. The decisions are already made. Things are unraveling exactly as planned. This notion people have that Obama has somehow made a mess of our foreign policy is naive. He is doing what he was hired to do.
I need a scorecard to keep track of all the players and which team we are for and against from gameday to gameday.
Obama’s whole careeer, from the Harvard Law Review on, has been that he can play both sides against the middle. He’s black so he gets automatic liberal credentials although his actual views are middle of the road to conservative. Obamacare is Bob Dole’s health plan which was really layed out by the Heritage Foundation. How could Republicans,not go along, its their policy, he thought. Ditto for foreign policy, Obama is not bold enough or sure enough of himself to go against the grain, to say to the war loving apartheid state of Israel and the MIC which profits from arming it, no more money and no more support in the UN for your apartheid policies. If he did that Obama probably feels he would be ruined and that the power he has would be stripped from him. Maybe he’s right. If he had a principled foreign policy he would probably be assasinated.
I think Parry is optimistic when he assures us that Obama is aware of and understands the ramifications of the decisions he makes in the Middle East. The quandary we are in now, where we spin like dervishes trying to assess who is to be our current ally and what strategic steps will balance the situation in our favor, is due precisely to ignorance, arrogance, being incredibly short-sighted, and allowing the military-industrial complex and oil magnates determine our direction. The law of unintended consequences is playing itself out here. There are no safe bets or good choices, except perhaps to pull out and let the (adult men and women) of the region sort it out for themselves.
The neocon ideology has never been very distant from the Likud ideology, and is founded on the principle that any national opponent of Israel needs to be neutralized. This was true for Iraq, Syria, Libya and for the brief Morsi regime in Egypt. Putin became a target, as the author rightly says, as soon as he showed that he could be useful mediator with Syria and Iran. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand is an ideal regional ally for Israel because it is so weak. It’s ruling class has only a very fragile grip on power and would fall as soon as US support was withdrawn.
The author is quite right that an alliance with Iran and Syria would make sense in terms of classic US energy interests in the region, not to mention actual defense needs- Al Queda, after all, has attacked the US - but Obama is stymied by the need to appease Neocon, ie. israeli, interests.
The most irrational aspect of the Israeli paranoia Is that they are so well armed that they need have no fear of powerful neighbors. Who would attack Israel,knowing that the nation possesses hundreds of air and sea borne nuclear missiles?
Saudi Arabia and Israel are playing the same game as the US’s War on Terror.
As long as the fighting is between Sunni and Shia proxies as far away from home as possible, they’re satisfied.
Did you see how quickly the Saudis escalated Yemen because it is so close to home?
Syria is a lose-lose for the US, either the Shia Assad remains in control against the wishes of its allies or Al-Qaeda and ISIS win and create another terrorist state which can then focus its energy outwards. I think KSA and Israel and the neocons should be careful what they wish for. Assad was comparatively benign compared to ISIS or AQ
Parry writes, “Increasingly, the choice facing Obama is whether to protect the old alliances with Israel and Saudi Arabia – and risk victories by Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State – or expand on the diplomatic opening from the framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program to side with Shiite forces as the primary bulwark against Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.”
There’s really only two options? We really only have a choice between which side we bankroll, arm and support in the Middle East?
I am sorely disappointed in Parry here. I have appreciated his analysis of the Ukraine situation (despite his unwillingness to blame Obama for anything.)
But I can’t appreciate this analysis.
We have a third choice. It is to END the American Imperial Project in the Middle East. Put our billions into renewable energy, pull ourselves out of there and let the people living there deal with their own problems.
I am convinced that peace and stability there could happen there if we and our Euro junior partners just got the hell out. As long as we stay in, as long as we prop up dictators and kings, as long as we demonize one side and arm the other, the problems will never go away.
I know it is hard for liberal interventionists to watch from afar other people do bad things to each other. But when will they learn that intervening always makes things worse?
One side sees Iran and those it supports as boogie men that we MUST stop. The other side (which Parry appears to join here) see ISIS and those who support it as boogie men that we MUST stop. But it is all propaganda.
Neither one of those sides does anything different or worse than nations and groups we support. The greatest example of this was Saddam’s actions paid for by the USA and approved in use of chemical weapons, which were given a wink and a nod when he was the USA’s strong man and then which were used as argument points to why he should be overthrown in a war when he stopped being the USA’s strong man and became someone they wanted to remove.
I despise the actions of ISIS. But if anyone thinks they are any worse than the regimes we support they are fooling themselves. We created ISIS and they’ll moderate if they win and someday we’ll give them favored nation status, just like we turned Ho Chi Minh and his forces into ‘evil commies’ by our actions and when they finally won they eventually moderated and we gave them favored nation status.
C.S. Lewis once wrote that what’s most interesting when studying a historical period is not what they disagreed about, but what they all agreed on and never even questioned, which in another age can be seen. That’s the mindset in the USA establishment. They all agree that the American Imperial Project is necessary.
Who will speak against it? I thought for a while Parry was one who would. But I guess I was dreaming.
" He is doing what he was hired to do".
Very true. I usually like Robert Parry but to think that Obama is indecisive is to be politically, naïve and shows a great lack of judgment, in my view.
Obama is doing exactly what he was selected to do!
The Republicans want war in the Middle East (mainly for Israel’s benefit). They started this mess with Bush/Cheney’s wars and now want Obama to solve it (or do they?) The Middle East has never been at peace very long. It is divided at its core. We should have kept our hands off! Personally I do not think the Repubs realize what they are doing to our country (or maybe they do) They are only thinking of the war machine and their profits. They are not keeping the USA and it people in their minds.
Hard to figure out–is Obama an “Uncle Tom like” character or is he a secret member of the CIA? His “we the people” speech in Selma Alabama followed by his push for the TPP fast track free trade deal??? His hiring of certain financial and military people like Robert Gates and Lawrence Summers who previously caused the problems in their areas. The bad advice Obama gets from these people–is this accidental or on purpose???
Prior to 9/11/01 it was reported that the plan was to take out seven countries in five years. Iran was empowered by the US war in Iraq putting the Shias in power.