Rapidly Collapsing U.S. Foreign Policy Part II

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 11 months ago

Iran is attempting to move to higher Uranium enrichment, and Ambassador John Bolton is warning us to get ready for a nuclear Iran.  The CIA has already warned us.  Unless Israel acts unilaterally, the Obama administration will be in the difficult position of trying to explain why so much energy was invested in the prevention of a nuclear Iran, when it was acceptable all along for Iran to possess a nuclear weapon.  In other words, it must explain why containment would have worked all along, thus making fools of those who tried to forestall that otherwise acceptable condition.

In a stark testimony to the fact that the Middle East has no confidence in our stomach for doing whatever is necessary to contain Persian hegemony, Kuwait and France have signed agreements on nuclear cooperation, and Saudi Arabia has established a new national agency to take the lead role in nuclear activities.  These countries do not need commercial nuclear power for purposes of energy infrastructure.  Commercial nuclear power is the first step to having the infrastructure, QA, training and protocols to control a weapons program.  Even the UAE is planning a nuclear site with four reactors.

Iran has made no attempt to hide its lack of fear of U.S. presence in the region.  Iran has been at war with us in Iraq since the inception of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and there are dead U.S. servicemen whose lives were sacrificed to the altar of avoiding the necessity of addressing the regional conflict.  Just recently an Iranian reconnaissance aircraft buzzed the U.S. aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, coming within 1000 yards of the ship.  This kind of aggression has become fairly routine.  During the 2008 deployment of the 26th MEU, an Iranian helicopter all but landed on the deck of the USS Iwo Jima.  The Marines could almost touch it from a standing position on the deck, but no actions were taken.  The Navy refused to allow the Marines to fire on the aircraft.  Iran has made its presence known in the recent Iraqi elections, and Moqtada al Sadr is trying to emerge as a legitimate political power after having been trained in Iran for the last several years.

Things don’t look much better to the North.  In spite of recommendations to seriously engage the Caucasus region, we have snubbed our allies in Georgia (in spite of their having sent the Georgian 31st Infantry Battalion to assist us in Afghanistan)  and most recently it appears that we are losing Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan’s long-standing alignment with the United States is rapidly unraveling in the wake of Washington’s recent policy initiatives. As perceived from Baku, those US initiatives fly in the face of Azerbaijan’s staunch support over the years to US strategic interests and policies in the South Caucasus-Caspian region.

Current US policies, however, are seen to favor Armenia in the Karabakh conflict resolution negotiations, curry favor with Armenian advocacy groups in domestic US politics, split Turkey and Azerbaijan from one another over the Karabakh issue, isolate Azerbaijan in the region, and pressure Baku into silent acquiescence with these policies.

Key actors in the region tend to share Azerbaijan’s perceptions in this regard. During last week’s nuclear safety summit in Washington, Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, and Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, spoke frankly in this regard. They told US interlocutors at every step that the refusal to invite Azerbaijan’s President, Ilham Aliyev, to the summit was a mistake, counterproductive to US interests in the region, and confirming perceptions that Washington was attempting to isolate Baku.

US President, Barack Obama’s, meeting with his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sargsyan during the Washington summit (while failing to invite the Azerbaijani president) confirmed perceptions that Armenian issues in US domestic politics distort Washington’s policy on the Karabakh conflict and toward Azerbaijan.

Ankara had cautioned Washington against such moves ever since Erdogan’s December 2009 visit to the US. At least from that point onward, Turkey has closed ranks with Azerbaijan, instead of distancing from it and opening the Turkish-Armenian border promptly and unconditionally at the Obama administration’s urging. The administration insists on de-linking the border opening from the continuing Armenian military occupation of seven districts beyond Karabakh, deep inside Azerbaijan. The administration had, instead, hoped to link the border opening with the April 24 US anniversary of the 1915-1918 Armenian events in Ottoman Turkey.

Washington’s summit miscalculation is the latest in a year-long series of blows to US-Azeri relations. This trend continues amid an apparent US strategic disengagement from the wider region (rationalized as a “strategic pause” to assuage pro-US governments there). In Azerbaijan’s case, Washington seems unable even to fill the long-vacant post of US ambassador in Baku. The vacancy deprives the United States of steady high-level access to Azerbaijan’s leaders (which had never been a problem previously), while making it more difficult for Washington to grasp the crisis in US-Azerbaijan relations and its region-wide implications.

Addressing an April 14 cabinet meeting in front of TV cameras, President Aliyev criticized the US policy of pushing Turkey to open the border with Armenia, despite the latter’s occupation of seven Azeri districts beyond Karabakh. This move pulls the rug from under Azerbaijan’s carefully constructed negotiating position for a stage-by-stage peaceful solution to the conflict. It also seems designed to separate Turkey from Azerbaijan. Accordingly, Aliyev complained about “certain countries that believe that they can meddle in everything…by exerting pressure and blackmailing. This is how we see it. This policy clearly runs against Azerbaijan’s interests, and the Azeri state is taking appropriate steps.”

It isn’t clear if the U.S. policy regarding Azerbaijan is malicious or merely inept.  What is clear is that we are still witnessing the collapse of U.S. foreign policy, a fact both easy and sad to catalog.

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12 Comments on "Rapidly Collapsing U.S. Foreign Policy Part II"

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DesertPete45
Member

Our ships are social experimentation laboratories, our pentagon is being filled with businessmen not generals or admirals. our career officers are more concerned with their careers than the security of our nation. the world is laughing at this poor excuse for a president who has ties with the most radical elements in our nation who want to bring us down. how the hell did this happen? Because of a dumbed down population, its all coming to fruition. we have navy SEALs being tried for roughing up a butcher and a army ranger frst lt. rotting in leavenworth for defending himself and killing a terrorist enemy of the USA. Bush, Clinton, Bush and now obama!!!!!! What the hell has happened and we have a congress who give this guy a pass. It it over for MY country.

TSAlfabet
Member
Don’t give up hope just yet, DP. Things looked very dark indeed in 1941 immediately after Pearl Harbor, when the Nazis were in the suburbs of Moscow and the U.S. was woefully unprepared for global hostilities against the best and most fanatical armies that fascism had ever mustered at that time. For whatever reason– perhaps it is inimical to democratic republics– the U.S. can never seem to get its act together until after it has been seriously bloodied: Pearl Harbor, 9/11. The bad news is that our present foreign policy has dialed the clock back to something like 1977 and the worst instincts of Jimmy Carter. So, buck up: things will almost certainly get worse before they get better. At some point, however, Iran or Al Qaeda or other enemy will miscalculate and attack the U.S. in some, serious fashion, but not deal a knockout blow. If (when) that happens, there will be certain and unmistakable hell to pay. The U.S. will finally rouse itself and take the kid gloves off and starting kicking the crap out people, U.N., E.U., China, Russia and the rest be damned. 9/11 should have put this country on much more of a war footing.… Read more »
Warbucks
Member

I do not see us being bold in the Balkans for a sea-land route, at lease not before the next round of Presidential elections, regardless of Iran’s dead-end, apocalyptic world vision.

The left will require two or three major terrorist events inside the US proven linked back Iran before the American people put on their real war paint. That’s the new given.

TSAlfabet
Member

Unfortunately, ‘bucks, you are probably all too correct about the number of attacks needed to stir the Left. In fact, I will go you one better and say that NO amount of attacks would stir the Left to action because they live in a world where the U.S. is always at fault, always the aggressor, always the one who must use restraint and atone for its many sins. Sounds alot like our current Foreign Policy….hmmmmm.

The clock is ticking though. My optimistic side says that there will be a major sea change in the 2010 and 2012 elections. If that happens, we will see a much saner foreign policy. If America’s enemies are going to make a move, they will have to do so before Jan. 2013 at the latest.

TSAlfabet
Member

P.S.: as a corollary to the rule that no attacks could stir the Left to decisive action, we can also posit that even a nuclear attack would generate no decisive response because nukes are anathema to the Left and can never under any circumstances be used.

Minnfinn
Member
“TSAlfabet said: Don’t give up hope just yet, DP. Things looked very dark indeed in 1941 immediately after Pearl Harbor, when the Nazis were in the suburbs of Moscow and the U.S. was woefully unprepared for global hostilities against the best and most fanatical armies that fascism had ever mustered at that time…” If only PBO was as bad for America as Jimma Carter! I was around, just out of the Army, looking for a construction job in the BAD OLD days of Jimma, too! You’re analogy about the dark days after Pearl Harbor breaks down, though. Then at least most of our nation’s enemies were outside our country, we can’t say the same thing today. This is the most radical “Secular Progressive” (a.k.a. Statist) ever to run in a major party’s for President and to win. He’s had his training from the most radical Marxists starting with his parents, through Columbia Univ., indirectly Saul Alinsky, etc. He’s surrounded himself with like-minded “fellow travelers” who want the federal gov’t (them) to have oversight of and control of every part of Americans’ lives from pre-cradle to the grave. When are we going to realize we have irreconcilable differences with these people?… Read more »
TSAlfabet
Member
MinnFinn said, “You’re analogy about the dark days after Pearl Harbor breaks down, though. Then at least most of our nation’s enemies were outside our country, we can’t say the same thing today. This is the most radical “Secular Progressive” (a.k.a. Statist) ever to run in a major party’s for President and to win. He’s had his training from the most radical Marxists starting with his parents, through Columbia Univ., indirectly Saul Alinsky, etc. He’s surrounded himself with like-minded “fellow travelers” who want the federal gov’t (them) to have oversight of and control of every part of Americans’ lives from pre-cradle to the grave.” Share your general frustrations, but in response to your claim above, the facts say otherwise. Please pardon the tangent, Captain. I will try to steer back to the original point related to your post. First, ‘internal enemies’ are nothing new to the U.S. The author of the history, “1776” points out that there were so many royalists in New York City that it was difficult for General Washington to locate his headquarters and there were legitimate fears of assassination. The British attack on New York was aided substantially by royalists. After the disaster in New York,… Read more »
Warbucks
Member
Since we are afloat in the sweeping themes of history, back to one additional sweeping theme of “time”. There seems to be more to not engaging the Balkans, than election-time verve lacking in the current crop of likely National candidates here in the US. No one is expressing the needed fire-in-the-belly rhetoric needed to engage the Balkans. Fringe Theories are becoming mainstream. This changes everything, even our triggers for nuclear retaliation in foreign policy. Article 1: The New World Older is indeed led by an elite group. So what else is new? Call them whatever you want; they go by many names. They are now accepted as real…. and this will be their undoing even as they are mostly secrete and unaccountable to you or to me. Article 2: Hold on to your inner Guide Star. Is it possible to maintain a moral compass of good (defined as volunteered, willing, committed, — with luck even joyful service to others above service to self-interest only) without complete compromise? Or, as Article I above stipulates, we are all pons in the larger game of the elite power players who work behind the scenes, accountable to no one. Article 3: The New Light… Read more »
Warbucks
Member

Right music at the right moment bring the right results: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UL03ko7T3o4

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You are currently reading "Rapidly Collapsing U.S. Foreign Policy Part II", entry #4928 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Azerbaijan,Georgia,Obama Administration,Policy,Politics and was published May 4th, 2010 by Herschel Smith.

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