5 years ago
The Center for a New American Security has issued a report (h/t Blackfive) entitled America’s Extended Hand: Assessing the Obama Administration’s Global Engagement Strategy. More on that shortly.
Recall the ineptitude, blunders and poor judgment we have discussed recently regarding the Obama administration and its foreign policy. The administration has chosen to work with criminal and gangster Ahmed Wali Karzai in Kandahar in the belief that they can change him. In Rapidly Collapsing U.S. Foreign Policy Part II we discussed how Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and even the UAE are so certain that our “diplomatic” efforts with Iran will fail to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons that they have all begun pursuing nuclear power programs in earnest (as predecessors to a nuclear weapons program). Iran is increasingly aggressive in the region. An Iranian aircraft buzzed the U.S. Aircraft Carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower as reported by the Navy Times, and I reported that “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.”
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.” Read the entire sad and depressing Jamestown report.
Just today it was reported that:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, said Wednesday that if Israel attacked Iran it would be destroyed within a week.
Speaking at a political conference of ultra-conservatives in Iran’s north, Mashaei said, “If the Zionist regime attacks Iran, the Zionists will have no longer than a week to live.”
The semi-official Fars news agency quoted him as saying that the Islamic Republic would destroy Israel “in less than 10 days”.
On his visit to Saudi Arabia he then claimed that “the annihilation of Israel should be a global goal.” The additional instances are too difficult and time consuming to catalog – from our “ally” Russia attempting to undermine our presence at the Manas air base (ending this fiasco cost us a fortune) to Obama’s ghastly and dreadful West Point speech on Afghanistan, to the refusal to fund the reliable replacement warhead program, to the decision to grant Russian inspectors full access to our nuclear weapons sites, to the idea that we can find moderate elements of Hezbollah. Exhaustion prevents me from completing the matrix of all of the gaffes, blunders, screw-ups, ill-conceived notions, and failed policies.
Now to the CNAS report. The money quotes are given below.
We conclude that, in many ways, the Obama administration has achieved its initial objective of “re-starting” America’s relationship with the world. The administration clearly understands the importance of dialogue and of listening to foreign publics, and it is attempting to incorporate a sensitivity to public opinion into its foreign policy decision making and translate public support into political leverage …
America’s global standing was in tatters due to an unpopular war in Iraq, a perception of unbridled American unilateralism and charges that the United States hypocritically advanced democracy abroad while compromising democratic values at home.
The folks at CNAS aren’t stupid; they just comprehend the world differently than do I. But this comprehension is so ideologically skewed and out of touch with reality it makes their work literally unusable. Time will be brutal to “scholarship” such as this. When Iran goes nuclear, reports like this will be trumpeted to show how naive this kind of research is. When Israel has to go it alone and war comes to the Middle East, my (and Michael Ledeen’s) advocacy for regime change (and my advocacy for fomenting an internal insurgency) will look like a cake walk compared to the mess we are left with, and much less violent and convulsive. When Russia invades Georgia again on their way to relieve their bases in Armenia, we will look stupid and weak in our alliance with the mobster Putin (and even more ignorant if we award the tanker contract to EADS, a company in which Vladimir Putin owns a significant part).
With scholarship like this, CNAS is simply irrelevant. They will have neither a positive nor a negative impact on policy. The studies they are producing lack seriousness and gravitas.