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October 24, 2011 6:47 pm

Obama’s Frightening Success

avatar by Arik Elman

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Turkish and Iranian flags.

So this is how American foreign policy “success” looks nowadays. (WARNING: Graphic Images.)

Without getting all misty-eyed about the Libyan strongman’s torture and murder, it is very hard to understand how the Obama administration can point to this gory spectacle as a crowning success of its foreign policy in the Middle East.

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With Gaddafi’s demise, Obama and his team appear to preside over nothing less than a full-blown Islamist renaissance throughout the region. In Libya, Tunisia and Egypt secular autocrats who emphasized local nationalism will be replaced by forces who share the ideological premises of the Muslim Brotherhood, bringing the possibility of the Islamist union tantalizingly close. As exposed by Barry Rubin, on the Syrian front, the United States has acceded to the Turkish ploy to pack the opposition’s National Council with Islamists. Lebanon (remember Lebanon?) remains firmly under the thumb of Hezbollah. And finally, to cap it all off, America is leaving Iraq to the joint tender mercies of Iran and Turkey.

When after the end of the World War II the Nazi-occupied countries of Western Europe began to rebuild their democratic political structures, America didn’t stand idly by and let the Communists (who were at the forefront of anti-Nazi struggle) prevail over those forces it deemed loyal. Without American involvement, France, Italy, Greece and Turkey could have fallen into the Soviet sphere of influence. Today, it looks increasingly as if President Obama considers Arab Islamists as rightful and desirable successors to secular dictators – provided they come to power “democratically” – and bases his assessment of their compatibility with American interests in the region on a mixture of wishful thinking and benign neglect.

The strategic consequences of the Obama-endorsed Islamist ascendancy will take time to materialize, but meanwhile Israel’s security is already being compromised. Unchecked by either the rebels or NATO, Libyan weapons are flowing through Egypt on their way to Gaza. The Eastern Sinai is teeming with more than 20,000 Egyptian troops of dubious loyalty, and Egyptian military jets are regularly crossing the demilitarization lines. Bereft of its traditional Egyptian ally and contemptuous of American pressure, Palestinian leadership is growing intransigent by the day. Hamas is emboldened and expectant. Iran is using the good services of Turkish intermediaries to avoid international sanctions and continues its race to the Bomb. Saudi Arabia, frightened by American infatuation with the “Arab Spring”, is growing unpredictable and inflexible. Here, from Jerusalem, Obama’s pronouncements of victory sound less and less like a clarion call of triumph and more and more like the Nero’s fiddle over the first sparks of the coming conflagration.

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  • salvage

    >No, what he is saying is that the Obama administration is touting this as a vindication of some form for his “vision of peace”

    Where has Obama done this?

    >He also committed ground troops irresponsibly and without congressional approval in a mission

    What ground troops are you talking about? A handful of personnel were sent to secure the embassy but nothing remotely like “troops on the ground” were sent.

    >whose end result is clearly not beneficial to the stability of the region or democracy in that country.

    What are you talking about? The dictator that was bombing his own people into submission is dead, how does that not contribute to stability and democracy?

    Tell me, have you applied any of these arguments to the Iraq invasion?

    If Obama had done nothing why do I imagine that this post and your comments would be about how Obama threw the Libyans under the bus for his buddy Gaddafi?

    But let’s give you the benefit of the doubt, what should have Obama done?

  • Benny

    No, what he is saying is that the Obama administration is touting this as a vindication of some form for his “vision of peace” which I dot quite understand. He also committed ground troops irresponsibly and without congressional approval in a mission whose end result is clearly not beneficial to the stability of the region or democracy in that country. But yes, let’s dumb it down to “everyone hates Obama because he’s a democrat” and not have a real discussion about foreign policy and the consequences of the Arab Spring. Hackery indeed.

  • salvage

    So… what you’re saying is that Obama should have… what.. invaded more to ensure that Muslims don’t have Muslim laws and didn’t lynch Gaddafi?

    Invaded less to ensure that Gaddafi’s stays in power by mass murder?

    Why do I get the feeling that no matter what Obama did it would have been the exact wrong thing and thus dooming the world

    Are you really this obtuse or are you aware of what complete hackery this post is?

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