US Middle East policy – incoherent

posted at 5:21 pm on August 30, 2013 by Bruce McQuain

And frankly, I think that’s a nice way of describing it.  James Picht declares that Barack Obama is the worst foreign policy president ever.  Rumor has it Jimmy Carter is all smiles.  Picht says our Middle Eastern policy is incoherent.  He lays his argument out this way:

Obama’s botched efforts in the Middle East serve to remind us that there’s no situation so bad that dedicated ineptitude can’t make it worse. His administration team has done just that. American foreign policy goals in the region are now completely unclear.

Obama’s dithering in Egypt has antagonized everyone there, has been interpreted as support of deposed President Mohamed Morsi, and has pushed Egypt directly into Russia’s embrace. No one knows whether our goal in Egypt is stability or democracy. We appear to back Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, which is backed also by Hamas, which in turn is supported by Iran, but our support appears completely irrelevant. Egypt’s new leaders have concluded they can safely ignore us.

The fiasco in Syria is worse. Is our goal there regime change? Is the goal still regime change even if that puts jihadists in charge? The Syrian rebels are supported by al-Qaeda and Hamas, and opposed by Iran, which with Russia supports Assad. Where exactly in all this do our interests lie? Are we really on the side of al-Qaeda?

Do we intend to back the monarchy in Bahrain, no matter how repressive it grows, in order to keep the base that houses our Fifth Fleet? Bahrain will eventually explode, but American support of the monarchy gives it free reign to repress the freedom movement and clamp down the pressure-cooker lid even more tightly.

The Obama Administration has dissembled its way across the Middle East, leaving enemies and allies alike uncertain of our intentions. Russia, China and Iran have been much more transparent. Saudi Arabia immediately gave Egypt’s General Sisi $12 billion in aid after the army deposed Morsi, the first democratically elected leader in Egypt’s 5,000-year history. Obama in contrast withdrew from joint military exercises but seemed uncertain whether to cut other aid.

Russia has clearly backed Syria’s Assad, while Obama has dithered over a military response to nerve gas attacks against civilians. If there is a response, it now seems designed to punish Assad without actually hurting him.

After months of tacitly supporting the rebels, the administration seems desperate to avoid hitting important military targets when it punishes Assad. And to the horror of American military leadership, the administration has planned its attack in public, all but sending Assad a map of likely targets.

As a result, Obama has come to be more disliked in the Middle East than his predecessor:

The Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project finds that support for the United States is lower now in Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan than it was in 2008. Approval for Obama’s policies was only 15 percent in Muslim countries last spring; what that rate would be now in Egypt and Syria is anyone’s guess, but a safe guess would be “lower.”

Truly amazing.  It is hard to imagine the level of incompetence that is required for our foreign policy to be in such disarray.  But there it is.

Charles Krauthammer calls what is going on a “complete humiliation” for Obama and the US:

“This is a complete humiliation for the Obama administration,” Krauthammer said. “Forget about the narrative of what Obama wants to do, which I think is a bad idea, but let’s assume it’s a good idea. This involves the elementary conduct of international diplomacy, trying to get some allies aboard so you don’t act unilaterally.

“And here is Obama trying to gather an ally or two for a pinprick and he gets nothing,” he added.

Krauthammer then questioned what officials were thinking this week when they leaked information about possible attacks in Syria.

“Did nobody actually think to check on the allies?” he said. “I mean, these are guys who couldn’t organize a three-car funeral.”

Basic or elementary diplomacy seems beyond this bunch.  And leadership is non-existent.  Instead we get an administration that seems to think that just because they decide something has to happen, it is the duty of allies to do our bidding.  That premise was rudely shot down in the UK yesterday.  When your coalition is you and France, you’ve failed Diplomacy 101.

But it isn’t much different than how the administration acts domestically.  At every turn and in reaction to any minor roadblock or setback, the administration is likely to whip out an executive order or just ignore the law to do what it wishes.  And while that may be somewhat effective here, in the international arena, they just don’t play that game.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


Comment pages: 1 2

Bmore on August 30, 2013 at 7:33 PM

yes, to make it of any quality, one must have time. Time isn’t something the 24/7 internet provides.

uncommon sense on August 30, 2013 at 7:37 PM

Bmore on August 30, 2013 at 7:35 PM

very good, just became a little concerned.

uncommon sense on August 30, 2013 at 7:38 PM

Bmore on August 30, 2013 at 7:33 PM

A ‘special Jackie foldeer’? You,too.? LOL!:)

thatsafactjack on August 30, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Foldeer?! Folder.:)

thatsafactjack on August 30, 2013 at 8:12 PM

n s a

Schadenfreude on August 30, 2013 at 6:50 PM


Bmore on August 30, 2013 at 6:55 PM

They will never force me from this Country or from living as a free man.

Bmore on August 30, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Lots to say about the U S A/n s a, as you know.

I hope that your statement stands alone and was not meant to imply anything.

They will die in the process of ever attempting. It will be the highest honor to die for that cause, as you know. Let us hope that it won’t be necessary.

Schadenfreude on August 30, 2013 at 8:16 PM

Considering the imbecilic democrats chose an insane moron for foreign policy gravitas, it is no wonder the policy seems incoherent. Biden needs to go back to Katie’s Redtaraunt and wash dishes or seat customers.

Murphy9 on August 30, 2013 at 8:18 PM

I’m startin’ to like this Bruce McQ guy.

And he’s a Scot to boot.

Watch out AllahP…’ve got competition

BobMbx on August 30, 2013 at 8:23 PM

Syria debacle in perfect time, ahead of budget/ceiling you know

Schadenfreude on August 30, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Schadenfreude on August 30, 2013 at 8:16 PM

I thumb my nose at the nsa. Everyday. They will not intimidate me into shyness.

Bmore on August 30, 2013 at 8:33 PM

“Worst foreign policy president ever”…what policies of his have been good? He is a clusterfark surrounded by little clusterfarks of his choosing…traitors, liars, snakes in the grass….

crosshugger on August 30, 2013 at 8:33 PM

New Steyn…

An Accidental War

Resist We Much on August 30, 2013 at 8:34 PM

Frankly we need to exit the Middle East and let those nations sort out their own problems while we use our own oil resources instead of paying extortion to the Arabs we’ve empowered and made obscenely wealthy.

As for the current terrorism political fear mongering, don’t fall for this scam.


donabernathy on August 30, 2013 at 8:43 PM

We’re basically good people here in the US. We deserved a better first black president.

smoothsailing on August 30, 2013 at 8:45 PM

Doesn’t O need to have an environmental impact survey done before he bombs Syria. Let’s send the EPA folks over to Syria to study the anticipated impact for a few years first.

There may be some indigenous critters that would go extinct if we bombed in the wrong place.

KenInIL on August 30, 2013 at 9:53 PM

It’s been obvious for quite some time that his policy is incoherent.

So obvious, in fact, that second-rate bloggers like myself have been making note of it for weeks.

Nice to see the “professionals” finally catching up.

arik1969 on August 30, 2013 at 9:58 PM

US Middle East policy – incoherent

Incoherent quite nicely describes his entire Presidency.

rukiddingme on August 30, 2013 at 10:21 PM

When your coalition is you and France, you’ve failed Diplomacy 101.

This is the quote of the year. :)

Theophile on August 30, 2013 at 10:25 PM

When your coalition is you and France, you’ve failed Diplomacy 101.

This is the quote of the year. :) :) :)

Theophile on August 30, 2013 at 10:26 PM

The current administration doesn’t want to offend the jihadists, so they’ll wait until after Saturday sundown (local time) to strike. You read it here first…

worldtvlr on August 31, 2013 at 12:08 AM

Why is anyone shocked that Obama is incompetent?

He was incompetent when he took office. Where was his demonstrated expertise in foreign affairs (or affairs of anything resembling an organization) as a junior Senator from Illinois where he was know for picketing banks and organizing poor folks he could later ignore?

Surprised? I’d have been surprised if he wasn’t as clueless has he has proved himself to be.

The public rushed to buy the cover without bothering to open the book. The contents? Blank pages.

IndieDogg on August 31, 2013 at 1:58 AM

It is hard to imagine the level of incompetence that is required for our foreign policy to be in such disarray. But there it is.

This did not happen overnight, and should be kept in mind as Hillary mounts an attack on the White House in 2016.

91Veteran on August 31, 2013 at 2:45 AM

Did ya notice not a peep outta Shrillary on this. Nobody from the lsm has asked her a single question, either. Can’t get her hands dirty right now, I suppose. Maybe she’s busy still trying to wash the blood off.

Kissmygrits on August 31, 2013 at 8:58 AM

Strange that he hasn’t gone to congress. Then when it’s voted down he could blame the Rs for wanting to gas children.

Kissmygrits on August 31, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Comment pages: 1 2