|This photo comes from a 2015 Pakistan Tribune article.|
On One Hand Obama Creates a Less Stable, More Nuclear Middle East
Pakistan Army Chief: ‘We’ll Wipe Iran Off the Map’
After Saudi Arabia executed a top Shia cleric for supporting anti-government protests and Iran responded by ransacking and burning the Saudi embassy in Tehran, the Muslim world began to split further. Kuwait recalled its ambassador from Iran while Bahrain, Sudan, and the UAE took other steps to distance themselves from Iran. The leader of Pakistan’s army warned that if Iran moved against the Saudi kingdom, Pakistan would “wipe Iran off the map.”
On the Other Hand, Obama Requires No Respect for the USA
Charles Krauthammer’s Assessment of Obama’s Fine Mess
In the 7 January 2016 Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer wrote the following summary of the most recent Obama debacle:
“If you’re going to engage in a foreign policy capitulation, might as well do it when everyone is getting tanked and otherwise occupied. Say, around New Year’s Eve.
Here’s the story. In October, Iran test-fires a nuclear-capable ballistic missile in brazen violation of a Security Council resolution explicitly prohibiting such launches. President Obama does nothing. One month later, Iran does it again. The administration makes a few gestures at the U.N. Then nothing. Then finally, on Dec. 30, the White House announces a few sanctions.
They are weak, aimed mostly at individuals and designed essentially for show. Amazingly, even that proves too much. By 10 p.m. that night, the administration caves. The White House sends out an email saying that sanctions are off — and the Iranian president orders the military to expedite the missile program.
Is there any red line left? First, the Syrian chemical weapons. Then the administration insistence that there would be no nuclear deal unless Iran accounted for its past nuclear activities. (It didn’t.) And unless Iran permitted inspection of its Parchin nuclear testing facility. (It was allowed self-inspection and declared itself clean.) And now, illegal ballistic missiles.
The premise of the nuclear deal was that it would constrain Iranian actions. It’s had precisely the opposite effect. It has deterred us from offering even the mildest pushback to any Iranian violations lest Iran walk away and leave Obama legacy-less.
Just two weeks ago, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards conducted live-fire exercises near the Strait of Hormuz. It gave nearby U.S. vessels exactly 23 seconds of warning. One rocket was launched 1,500 yards from the USS Harry S. Truman.
Obama’s response? None.
The Gulf Arabs — rich, weak and, since FDR, dependent on America for security — are bewildered. They’re still reeling from the nuclear deal, which Obama declared would be unaffected by Iranian misbehavior elsewhere. The result was to assure Tehran that it would pay no price for its aggression in Syria and Yemen, subversion in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and support for terrorism.
Obama seems not to understand that disconnecting the nuclear issue gave the mullahs license to hunt in the region. For the Saudis, however, it’s not just blundering but betrayal. From the very beginning, they’ve seen Obama tilting toward Tehran as he fancies himself Nixon in China, turning Iran into a strategic partner in managing the Middle East.
This is even scarier because it is delusional. If anything, Obama’s openhanded appeasement has encouraged Iran’s regional adventurism and intense anti-Americanism.
The Saudis, sensing abandonment, are near panic. Hence the reckless execution of the firebrand Shiite insurrectionist, Sheik Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, that has brought the region to a boil. Iranians torched the Saudi Embassy. The Saudis led other Sunni states in breaking relations with Tehran.
The Saudis feel surrounded, and it’s not paranoia. To their north, Iran dominates a Shiite crescent stretching from Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the Mediterranean. To the Saudi south, Iran has been arming Yemen’s Houthi rebels since at least 2009. The fighting has spilled over the border into Saudi Arabia.
The danger is rising. For years, Iran has been supporting anti-regime agitation among Saudi Arabia’s minority Shiites. The Persian Gulf is Iran’s ultimate prize. The fall of the House of Saud would make Iran the undisputed regional hegemon and an emerging global power.
For the United States, that would be the greatest geopolitical setback since China fell to communism in 1949. Yet Obama seems oblivious. Worse, he appears inert in the face of the three great challenges to the post-Cold War American order. Iran is only the most glaring. China is challenging the status quo in the South China Sea, just last week landing its first aircraft on an artificial island hundreds of miles beyond the Chinese coast. We deny China’s claim and declare these to be international waters, yet last month we meekly apologized when a B-52 overflew one of the islands. We said it was inadvertent.
The world sees and takes note. As it does our response to the other great U.S. adversary — Russia. What’s happened to Obama’s vaunted ‘isolation’ of Russia for its annexation of Crimea and assault on the post-Cold War European settlement? Gone. Evaporated.
John Kerry plays lapdog to Sergei Lavrov. Obama meets openly with Vladimir Putin in Turkey, then in Paris. And is now practically begging him to join our side in Syria.
There is no price for defying Pax Americana — not even trivial sanctions on Iranian missile-enablers. Our enemies know it. Our allies see it — and sense they’re on their own, and may not survive.”
Regarding the US Sailors Captured, Obama Defends Iran First
As everyone knows, Obama did not mention the captured US sailors during the State of the Union address — he was too busy lauding the merits of Syrian refugees to be bothered with Americans in need. However, when he did open his mouth, it was to defend the Iranians. As reported by the Hill, Obama administration mouthpieces went to their fictive work:
” ‘The Geneva Convention applies for a time of war between nations, and we’re not at war with Iran,’ State Department spokesman John Kirby said. ‘So it’s difficult to see how the provisions of the Geneva Convention can be applied here or us citing them as violations of it, because we’re not at war with Iran.’
‘If we were at war with Iran or another country, then, yes I think you could look at what happened as a breach of the protocols in there,’ he added. ‘But they don’t apply.’ “
Iran Did Violate the Geneva Conventions
Nonetheless, despite the words out of a “transparent administration’s” mouths, facts are stubborn things (as the following quote from a 14 January 2016 Breitbart article points out):
“The Obama administration announced on Thursday that Iran had not violated the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war when it published photographs of captured U.S. Navy sailors, forced them to appear on television and make an apology for the circumstances of their capture, and compelled a female sailor to wear a hijab (head covering).
Under Article 13 of the Geneva Convention, prisoners must not be subjected to “insults and public curiosity.” Under Article 14, they must be treated with honor, and female prisoners must not suffer worse treatment.
‘…[T]he Geneva Convention applies for wartime,’ Kirby said. ‘We’re not at war with Iran, so it’s a moot question….I’m not a lawyer, but it’s very clear, if you read the conventions, they are for wartime, and we’re not at war with Iran.’
Kirby is wrong, as the text of the Geneva Convention makes clear.
Article 1 says: ‘The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.’ The phrase ‘all circumstances’ applies to peacetime as well as war, as noted by Article 2.
Article 2 states clearly: ‘In addition to the provisions which shall be implemented in peace time, the present Convention shall apply to all cases of declared war or of any other armed conflict which may arise between two or more of the High Contracting Parties, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them.’
Article 5 notes: ‘Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.’
So the Geneva Convention–to which Iran and the U.S. are both parties–applies, at least partly, to peacetime, and to conflicts that fall short of declared war. Furthermore, it applies even in the presence of doubts as to whether prisoners qualify for its protections, until the status of those prisoners can be determined by a court.”
The State Department Delusional Self-Assessment
One thing that almost puts a cherry on the top of this precarious situation created by Obama’s lead-from-behind style manifests in the administration’s inability to take the blame and ability to take credit where none exists. The first case in point comes from the hands of the perpetrators themselves. On DipNote (a government website named not for the absolute dips that created it, but as a reference to the diplomatic corps), they claimed success in the following areas for 2015:
- Winning Fight Against Violent Extremists – never mind Navy recruiting office murders, the Garland attack, or the San Bernardino murders
- Bringing Peace, Security to Syria – never mind the entry of Russia, Cuba, Iran, and our own Air Force into the area
- Diplomatic Relations Re-established With Cuba – never mind the 53 dissidents re-arrested after the January “normalization” with Obama or the dissidents barred from meeting with the pope.
CNN Survey: Americans Say Terrorists are Winning
As commented by Townhall, a CNN/ORC poll discovered:
“While less than half of Americans say the terrorists are winning, the current 40% who do believe that is 17 points above the previous high of 23% reached in August 2005. Another 40% say neither side has an advantage, and just 18% say today that the U.S. and its allies have the upper hand — 10 points off the previous low for that measure, reached in January 2007.
Majority dissatisfaction with the war on terrorism crosses party lines, with even a majority of Democrats, 59%, expressing unease with the case prosecuted by the Obama White House. Seventy-nine percent of independents and 86% of Republicans also say they are dissatisfied with how it has fared.
A majority of Republicans, 55%, say they think the terrorists are winning, while most Democrats, 52%, feel neither side has an edge.”
Hat tip to the Gateway Pundit