Rapidly Collapsing U.S. Foreign Policy Part II

BY Herschel Smith
13 years, 5 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.

Prior: Rapidly Collapsing U.S. Foreign Policy

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  1. On May 4, 2010 at 12:34 am, DesertPete45 said:

    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.

  2. On May 4, 2010 at 11:55 am, 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.

    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. Instead, we tried to maintain and even encourage a sense of normalcy at the home front and pretend like the Islamofascist threat was contained and dealt with just because we managed to kick AQ out of A-stan and toss Saddam to the hangman. Bush 43, for all he did right, never grasped (or never communicated that) the war was as much about Iran/Syria/Hezbollah/Hamas and Saudi Arabian radicalism as it was about Bin Laden and his ilk. It meant pouring money into the military to enlarge our combat forces, expand the ability to deal death and destruction across many theaters at once without calling up every National Guard unit for multiple overseas duty. Bush 43 tried to fight the war against Islamofascism on the cheap and with our hands tied. We had ample provocation after 9/11 to not only kick the crap out of the Taliban, but then to go into Pakistan’s FATA and continue to kick the crap out of AQ and clean out their nests. We had ample reason to make it clear to Iran that the regime’s days were over and if they so much as scowled in our direction we were taking out their gas refineries for starters and go from there.

    Obama was elected because, in the end, we chose half-measures and half-hearted warfare that frustrated the American people and allowed them to go back to a complacent, pre 9-11 mentality where a slick talking leftist, statist politician could pretend to be a centrist bringing hope and change.

    We are learning a hard lesson, but we will be better for it in the end. When the U.S. wakes up, watch out. The cost, though, will be horrific.

  3. On May 4, 2010 at 2:13 pm, Warbucks said:

    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.

  4. On May 5, 2010 at 4:41 pm, TSAlfabet said:

    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.

  5. On May 5, 2010 at 4:44 pm, TSAlfabet said:

    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.

  6. On May 25, 2010 at 3:30 pm, Minnfinn said:

    “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? Stop trying to “make-up” with these people who do nothing except abuse us, steal our earnings, property and liberties.
    Propose that:
    • These Statist, Progressives and those who believe in them move to several states which already have a high % of “Progressives” living in.
    • Let the rest of the sane Americans who value our Constitution, liberty and truth live in the rest of the U.S.
    • Put a very tall fence between the “Progressive states” and the rest of us.
    • The sane American states keep all of the military assets, since Progressives want nothing to do with protecting the innocent or this country.
    • The Progressive states can go on their insane way, controlling, taxing and driving each other over the cliff.
    • The rest of us in America can return to living a more normal, peaceful life, with liberty, justice and in truth based upon the founding documents and principles our country started with.
    This may require a Constitutional Amendment to guarantee any state to choose the path it and their residents will take “Progressive” vs. sane, free states. Let us begin to take the necessary peaceful steps to gain this separation.

  7. On May 31, 2010 at 9:39 am, TSAlfabet said:

    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, Washington and the Army had to march through New Jersey which was heavily royalist and there were many residents of New York and New Jersey who accepted an offer of clemency from the British Army. The Civil War was all about the internal divisions in this country over the issue of state sovereignty. Yes, slavery was the spark, but the powder keg was the question of states versus federal power. And look at the 20th Century. American history books (being skewed to the Left P.O.V.) fail to mention that American intellectuals and cultural elite were huge fans of Marxism, Bolshevism and Communism in general. They went by the name “Progressive.” The Bolshevik Revolution was like heaven on earth to many people in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Leading figures in American media and politics (including F.D.R. and Truman) were big fans of Joseph Stalin. The media, in particular the New York Times, wrote glowing pieces about Stalin and the brave new world of Soviet Russia, dismissing or downplaying the intentional and massive starvation of Ukraine and the infamous Stalin show trials/executions. Many of these people wound up in the Roosevelt Administration during the 30’s and stayed there into 1950. (Just for fun, do a Google search of “the Venona Project.” You will be astounded to see how many Americans were working as Soviet agents at high levels in the U.S. government based on intercepted and decrypted Soviet cables… Funny how the Media never mentions this when it talks about McCarthy and the so-called “Red Scare.”). Point being that the U.S. has been beset by internal opposition its entire history. Leftist/Statist presidents have included Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton and now Obama. There has been a substantial minority of Statists in positions of power and influence for most of the 20th century through today.

    So, to return to the post subject of collapsing U.S. foreign policy, we are seeing the inevitable results of a long-running dalliance with Leftist thinking that sees America and the world very, very differently than we do. Obama is continuing the work of his Leftist predecessors. U.S. foreign policy right now is deeply conflicted because, on one hand, Obama and his Leftist supporters are generally comfortable with authoritarian regimes– it is their preferred method of solving problems with heavy-handed government measures. On the other hand, even Obama realizes that he cannot steer the ship of state too radically to the Left. He campaigned as a “centrist” remember? So there are vestiges of U.S. policy that continue to pay lip service to traditional, American values in order to placate the majority Right and Center of the country.

    Although it is tempting to want to file for divorce from the insane Left as you suggest MinnFinn, the Founding Fathers gave us the power of the ballot to change things. That requires that we get involved in the political process in whatever way we can to get rid of politicians who are part of the problem and elect leaders who have their heads on straight, whether they be Democrats, Republicans, Independents… whatever. Party loyalty has left us with a mess in D.C. We need people elected who are first and foremost principled, limited government, fiscal conservatives, IMHO. It is going to require a president who has the guts and the mandate to clean out the Lefties in the State Department and the CIA for starters.

  8. On June 1, 2010 at 10:31 am, Warbucks said:

    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 of Good. A new body of awareness, facilitated by the internet has bloomed. It ties together many small, meek, eclectic voices who are focused on the current state of the world with global awareness. It is not political-party affiliated and it is open to listen to and discuss subjects that were formerly taboo: Illuminate, Time-Travel, The Secrete Government, Conspiracy, Exopolitics, New Physics of subquantum kinetics, the power of self awareness and inner focus, the second wave of New Age unlike the first wave as to its real world voting power.

    So what does all this mean?

    Nothing is what it seems to be and it is now okay to keep that in mind and look behind the curtain. …. and that changes everything.

  9. On June 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm, Warbucks said:

    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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