Allies everywhere feeling snubbed by President Obama

ajtr

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Allies everywhere feeling snubbed by President Obama

The contretemps between President Obama and Israel needs to be seen in a broader global context. The president who ran against "unilateralism" in the 2008 campaign has worse relations overall with American allies than George W. Bush did in his second term.

Israelis shouldn't feel that they have been singled out. In Britain, people are talking about the end of the "special relationship" with America and worrying that Obama has no great regard for the British, despite their ongoing sacrifices in Afghanistan. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy has openly criticized Obama for months (and is finally being rewarded with a private dinner, presumably to mend fences). In Eastern and Central Europe, there has been fear since the administration canceled long-planned missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic that the United States may no longer be a reliable guarantor of security. Among top E.U. officials there is consternation that neither the president nor even his Cabinet seems to have time for the European Union's new president, Herman Van Rompuy, who, while less than scintillating, is nevertheless the chosen representative of the post-Lisbon Treaty continent. Europeans in general, while still fond of Obama, have concluded that he is not so fond of them -- despite his six trips to Europe -- and is more of an Asian president.

The Asians, however, are not so sure. Relations with Japan are rocky, mostly because of the actions of the new government in Tokyo but partly because of a perception that the United States can't be counted on for the long term. In India, there are worries that the burgeoning strategic partnership forged in the Bush years has been demoted in the interest of better relations with China. Although the Obama administration promised to demonstrate that the United States "is back" in Asia after the alleged neglect of the Bush years, it has not yet convinced allies that they are the focus of American attention.



U.S. officials have any number of explanations for these concerns: that they are based on misunderstandings, the product of minor errors in execution, simply Bush's fault. By now, however, a moderately self-reflective administration might be asking why so many allies, everywhere, are worried.

Yet it isn't that surprising. Who has attracted attention in the Obama administration? The answer, so far, seems to be not America's allies but its competitors, and in some cases its adversaries. If there were a way to measure administration exertion in foreign policy, the meter would show the greatest concentration of energy, beyond the war in Afghanistan, has been devoted to four endeavors: the failed first-year attempt to improve relations with Iran; the ongoing attempt to improve relations with Russia; the stalled effort to improve cooperation with China; and the effort -- fruitless so far -- to prove to the Arab states that the United States is willing to pressure Israel to further the peace process. Add to these the efforts to improve relations with Syria, engage Burma and everything with Af-Pak, and not much has been left for the concerns of our allies.

This is bad enough, but compounding the problem has been the administration's evident impatience with allies who don't do as they are told. Europeans get spanked for a pallid commitment to NATO defense spending even as they contribute 30,000 troops to a distant war that European publics mostly don't believe in. Japan gets spanked when its new government insists on rethinking some recent agreements. In both cases, the administration has a point, but it's always easier to hammer allies when they misbehave than to hammer tough competitors such as Russia or China.

The president has shown seemingly limitless patience with the Russians as they stall an arms-control deal that could have been done in December. He accepted a year of Iranian insults and refusal to negotiate before hesitantly moving toward sanctions. The administration continues to woo Syria and Burma without much sign of reciprocation in Damascus or Rangoon. Yet Obama angrily orders a near-rupture of relations with Israel for a minor infraction like the recent settlement dispute -- and after the Israeli prime minister publicly apologized.

This may be the one great innovation of Obama foreign policy. While displaying more continuity than discontinuity in his policies toward Afghanistan, Iraq and the war against terrorism, and garnering as a result considerable bipartisan support for those policies, Obama appears to be departing from a 60-year-old American grand strategy when it comes to allies. The old strategy rested on a global network of formal military and political alliances, mostly though not exclusively with fellow democracies. The idea, Averell Harriman explained in 1947, was to create "a balance of power preponderantly in favor of the free countries." Under Bill Clinton, and the two Bushes, relations with Europe and Japan, and later India, were deepened and strengthened.

This administration pays lip-service to "multilateralism," but it is a multilateralism of accommodating autocratic rivals, not of solidifying relations with longtime democratic allies. Rather than strengthening the democratic foundation of the new "international architecture" -- the G-20 world -- the administration's posture is increasingly one of neutrality, at best, between allies and adversaries, and between democrats and autocrats. Israel is not the only unhappy ally, therefore; it's just the most vulnerable.
 
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Agantrope

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When i saw the campaign of Obama i felt that he is a different man for thsi job. But after getting the seat that he is another st*pid to succeed. Bush is better when on dealing with the allies. Ties with Israel gone bad after the Carter reign. Most of his economy policy seems to be crumbling. But i still have words to put out.
 

ahmedsid

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Israel feels snubber seriously, and they are on high alert, even with Bibis bro in law saying Obama is anti semite. But something that can make Israel happy is that, Thousands of Bunker Buster bombs are being shifted to Diego Garcia and this is seen as getting ready to support Israel over Iran. Atleast the Israelis shouldnt feel left out.

France, well what the hell did they do for the Americans in recent times??? Nothing worth a "Special Relationship". I mean the last time the french came in handy was during the War for Independece!!!

Britian has grievences and rightly so, they sacrificed a lot for the Americans and didnt even get a pie over the Oil as they expected :( Shortchanged by Bush, now by Obama.

As for India, well we got our Nuke Deal, we r dealng with the French and Russians, and Yes Americans trying to sideline us in Afghanistan one day, then trump us up another day! Confusing!!
 

GokuInd

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Israel feels snubber seriously, and they are on high alert, even with Bibis bro in law saying Obama is anti semite. But something that can make Israel happy is that, Thousands of Bunker Buster bombs are being shifted to Diego Garcia and this is seen as getting ready to support Israel over Iran. Atleast the Israelis shouldnt feel left out.

France, well what the hell did they do for the Americans in recent times??? Nothing worth a "Special Relationship". I mean the last time the french came in handy was during the War for Independece!!!
I beg to differ. France has far more done for the US and NATO then Israel is ever going to do. See its contribution to ISAF in Afghanistan.
 

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It was a bad move to give him the Nobel when he wasn't a worthy candidate. Now in his quest to look worthy he is coming up with idiotic policies. That he is doing it at the expense of allies like britain is nothing but baffling. In gujarati there is a saying "shaano kaagro goo par bethe" (the extra wise crow ends up sitting on shi.t ). This is the case with Obama. Extra smart or dedh shaana as they call in bambaiya. Bush for all his gawfs in the hindsight looks a more capable foreign policy handler than very smart Obama. He is getting on my nerves. I wish McCain had won. I hope he doesn't win the re election. Wonder what is hillary clintons role in policy decisions. Or is Obama calling all the shots. Joe Biden was known to be a big mouth but never heard him since being veep. What is his say in the scheme of things?
 

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For me it is more of US' 'survival of fittest game'.

Rite from the Af-Pak Policy, attitude towards india in nuke deal; their mother britain was ditched by his admin. Lot of arm twisting as far as french as concerned
 

Agantrope

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It was a bad move to give him the Nobel when he wasn't a worthy candidate. Now in his quest to look worthy he is coming up with idiotic policies. That he is doing it at the expense of allies like britain is nothing but baffling. In gujarati there is a saying "shaano kaagro goo par bethe" (the extra wise crow ends up sitting on shi.t ). This is the case with Obama. Extra smart or dedh shaana as they call in bambaiya. Bush for all his gawfs in the hindsight looks a more capable foreign policy handler than very smart Obama. He is getting on my nerves. I wish McCain had won. I hope he doesn't win the re election. Wonder what is hillary clintons role in policy decisions. Or is Obama calling all the shots. Joe Biden was known to be a big mouth but never heard him since being veep. What is his say in the scheme of things?
:). I can compare Mayawati's Garland and Obama's Noble as same thing but in different stage
 

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Forced to say at this moment that much as I hate her mayawati deserves the garland more than Obama the nobel. At least her supporters feel she is worth it. No one believes in Obama
 

ajtr

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Valerie Jarrett: Why Obama Being "Womanly" is a Good Thing
 
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Armand2REP

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The Obama adminstration is turning protectionist which effects relations with the whole EU from unfair tariffs to a rigged tanker RFP. As the US demands more from European allies they aren't giving anything back while we try to solve a fiscal deficit. It isn't going to happen. UK and France are both going to draw down troops in Afghanistan and countries associated with EADS are going to retaliate against protectionist policies. Obama has failed here and the end result will be a more united European defence agenda. If he keeps going on this path he can be attributed for the end of NATO.
 
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When Obama was elected I has said that he would bring the end of NATO and crash the US dollar as well as lose the trade wars and leave the foreign policy a disaster, many said this would not happen most of these have things have started to happen and this is just the middle of this one term idiot's presidency, and to top it all of he is trying to destroy the healthcare system in USA .
 

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When Obama was elected I has said that he would bring the end of NATO and crash the US dollar as well as lose the trade wars and leave the foreign policy a disaster, many said this would not happen most of these have things have started to happen and this is just the middle of this one term idiot's presidency, and to top it all of he is trying to destroy the healthcare system in USA .
he's doing what he got voted to do.

Every democrat that has ever touched health care has been burned, he is the only one who has managed to survive this long and get this far.

He is not an Idiot , and neither was Bush.
But America will have a better future under him then it would have under Mccain.

Unless you are telling me the one year he has spent in office , is worse then the last 8 years under Bush.

Frankly i don't know why anyone would oppose universal health care given that it works so well in Hawaii, Canada and in Europe.

economy is better then the way the conservatives left it.

US dollar continues to remain the standard global currency.
While the Euro faces a crisis in Greece, Spain and Italy.

But i agree his administration has made a mess of foreign policy.

He did change the face of America world wide.

But politically he has distanced allies. Europe , Israeli , Japan , India.
Are just making their own policy with very little American contribution, Often even America working against their policies.

and been snubbed by everyone from Iran to China.

Hell Pakistan continues to spit in Face.

Lattes new reports suggests that Pakistan arrest of high ranking Taliban individuals, is to prevent US negotiations from happening

He isn't making any new friends and he's losing the ones America already has.
 
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he's doing what he got voted to do.

Every democrat that has ever touched health care has been burned, he is the only one who has managed to survive this long and get this far.

He is not an Idiot , and neither was Bush.
But America will have a better future under him then it would have under Mccain.

Unless you are telling me the one year he has spent in office , is worse then the last 8 years under Bush.

Frankly i don't know why anyone would oppose universal health care given that it works so well in Hawaii, Canada and in Europe.

economy is better then the way the conservatives left it.

Gogbot the simple problem with universal healthcare is the timing, in a time when the Nation is running record high defecits and debt and the economy has not recovered this is an added cost that no one can pay. People's incomes are not increasing almost 20% of USA is unemployed or working part time(80% of nation working full-time), assets are not increasing from Real estate and Stock market is inflated artificially by the government, the banks are not lending and China is not buying anymore US debt so how will the revenues be generated? who will buy the debt?? The only answer I can think of is the usual democratic way of raising taxes on the productive parts of society and punish them for producing. Obama increased the federal defecit in one year more than Bush did in 8 years. The trillions needed to finance this health care bill is a mystery and medicare and social security problems still remain. Another mystery is how will the future generations pay back the principal forget about the problem of paying the interest? Military solutions have not produced any economic improvement like it did in ww2 and talk of a war against Iran is more silliness by the Obama administration..
 
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ajtr

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well Obama sowed people the dream which he cant change them into reality.From health care to iran,north korea issue to china and to iraq and afghanistan issue each front he turned out to be a failure.unless obama pulled out some miracle in next 2 years of his presidency he will be another one term wonder president of all talks but nothing to show for as success.
 

nrj

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Well, i think Obama is just the showpiece media hype child created in order to cash the pre-obama disturbance over Bush in USA...
& they successfully threw away Bush but set a very bad example. He's failing on every front consistently.
God knows what the upcoming Global Nuclear Summit invited by him going to yield? iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

In a country like USA where country President is very powerful, he's rarely brought any positive shift,
moreover most importantly the Foreign Policy he's exchanging is going nowhere (He had enough time now after grabbing the President seat). He's going to loose substantial global influence & International friendly political lobby what USA earned after the fall of USSR ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, What a waste!

I'm definitely turning anti-obama every day & no doubt the picture is clear for every country looking up to him with the expectations he created.... xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

If current situation continues, amrikans will put him out of office by 2013 (same time Mr.Putin is ON! clap).....



oooooooooooooooooooo
 
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ajtr

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Why Obama's health-care victory won't make him stronger

Will yesterday’s passage of health-care reform give a positive jolt to U.S. foreign policy? Is Obama the new “comeback kid,” with new clout at home and a more formidable hand to play abroad? Will he now pivot from domestic affairs to foreign policy and achieve a dazzling set of diplomatic victories? My answers: no, no, and no.

As others have noted before, journalists and commentators find it easy to rely on an essentially narrative style of analysis. It’s easy to tell a story largely in terms of day-to-day events and process, and to frame it all in terms of the rise or fall of different personalities. First Obama can do no wrong, then he’s a failed president, then suddenly he bounces back and is a transformational figure once again. Or Rahm is in, then he’s out, then’s he bigger than ever. Pelosi is dismissed, then she’s hated, then she’s ineffectual, and then suddenly she’s vindicated and revered. Analyzing politics in this way is certainly exciting, but it's not very informative. It also creates the sense that political fortunes are always swinging wildly back and forth, instead of stepping back and looking for the larger structural forces that are shaping events and constraining choices.

My sense is that yesterday’s House vote isn’t going to translate into a lot of new political clout, especially when it comes to foreign policy. Passing the health-care bill may mean that Obama doesn’t need coddle quite as many congressmen on foreign-policy issues they might care strongly about (such as trade policy or the Middle East), and that might give him a bit more flexibility to do what’s in the national interest. But overall, I don’t think yesterday’s vote in the House will have much impact at all.

To begin with, Obama’s No. 1 concern still has to be the U.S. economy. The Democrats are going to lose seats in the midterm elections, which will make pushing domestic reform efforts much harder. It might be tempting to focus on foreign policy, therefore, except that everyone knows Obama’s re-election hinges largely on getting Americans back to work. If the economy and especially employment turn around by 2011 he’s golden; if it doesn’t, he’s in trouble.

More importantly, there isn’t a lot of low-hanging fruit in foreign policy. He might get an arms-control agreement with Russia, but there aren’t a lot of votes in that and there’s no way he’ll get a comprehensive test-ban treaty through the post-2010 Senate. Passing health care at home won’t make Iran more cooperative, make sanctions more effective, or make preventive war more appealing, so that issue will continue to fester. Yesterday’s vote doesn’t change anything in Iraq; it is their domestic politics that matters, not ours. I’d say much the same thing about Afghanistan, though Obama will face another hard choice when the 18-month deadline for his “surge” is up in the summer of 2011.

Passing a health-care bill isn’t going to affect America’s increasingly fractious relationship with China, cause Osama bin Laden to surrender, or lead North Korea to embrace market reforms, hold elections, and give up its nuclear weapons. And somehow I don’t think those drug lords at war with the Mexican government are going to go out of business because 32 million uninsured Americans are about to get coverage. And even if Obama does seize the moment to push Middle East peace talks -- a risky step in an election year -- only a cock-eyed optimist would expect a deal in short order.

So I’d ignore any stories you see about how this "historic legislative victory" gives the president new clout, greater momentum, or an enhanced ability to advance his foreign-policy agenda. Today’s euphoria will pass quickly, opponents at home will regroup, and enemies abroad don’t care. Bottom line: Obama's foreign-policy in box will look about the same at the end of the first term as it did when he took office.
 

ajtr

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The madness of letting Mad Men dictate our foreign polices

When it comes to U.S. foreign policy, one of the central problems we face is outdated policy frameworks that seem to date to the era of Mad Men, three martini lunches and fedoras. Two such anachronistic approaches are absolutely central at the moment.

As we slouch toward containment in Iran, to use David Sanger's terrific phrase, defenders of the "get used to Tehran having a finger on the button" approach argue that their government is rational and self-interested and therefore the old Cold War deterrent of assured destruction will work (remember those M.A.D. old days). All we have to do is threaten to blow them up if they use their weapons and we will once again assure peace on earth. (BTW, I don't recall us all being so sure the policy was going to work as I huddled under my elementary school desk with a coat over my head.) The 21st Century twist that invalidates the old policy is that the greater risk is not state vs. state WMD use, it's that as more countries like Pakistan and Iran and North Korea get the bomb, the odds that one or more warheads fall into the hands of less rational non-state actors grows. And it grows further as the addition of each new nuclear state makes other states -- many for whom having secure nuclear programs will be a challenge -- want to enter the club. We're on the verge of a new developing world nuclear arms race and we're basing our approach on 50 year old policies for a very different world.

Similarly, as Secretary Clinton returned from her Latin trip frustrated with her exchange with Brazil over Iran, many in the U.S. Latin policy community (which is broken with a few notable exceptions into two distinct groups -- hacks and old hacks) are fretting that this will be an impediment to a "real partnership" with Brazil. The problem is that the U.S. bases its idea of international partnerships on a very 1950s idea of marriage. America is the husband and our "partners" are our wives. We may call them "equal" in polite conversation but in the end we're the ones who get to decide who's going to get fucked and when. Not only is that old-fashioned sexual politics, it's an old fashioned view of relationships with a superpower in the Cold War. But we have entered into a world in which "you're with us or against us" and "you're with us or else" doesn't work. It's a world in which most of the major players with whom which we will have to deal will frequently be with us and against us.

Hopefully, the new centrality of China to American interests may introduce us to a more 21st century idea of international marriages -- one in which both sides really are equal and it is acknowledged from the outset that their interests may diverge and that when they do, it is possible to disagree and without undercutting the parts of the relationship that do work and where cooperation is possible. This idea -- of a U.S. that actually listens to and respects the autonomy of the other great powers with which we deal -- will be the key to building and maintaining successful coalitions in the future.

That's not to say, by the way, that Brasilia's samba with Tehran is in anyone's interest or is a good policy. It gives leverage to a very bad regime that is flaunting international law and seems intent on making the world a more dangerous pace. It's also not to say we shouldn't make our case clearly to the Brazilians or to pretend tensions won't result. However, we mustn't petulantly let our most important relationship in South America rise and fall on a single issue or on the notion that only one of the partners is in a position to set the terms of what is or is not acceptable.
 

thakur_ritesh

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Obama set the tone in his first speech as the president of the US when he took oath of office where he quite specifically highlighted the era of lobbing in the corridors of white house would come to an end during the tenure of his administration and it very well has and with this changed tone the allies of the US feel threatened because his is an administration which is ready to not mince its words and actions if one is on the wrong side of the fence be it even the allies of the US who up till now had no one to police them, gone are the days of either with us or against us.

He came at a time when the US was going through a turmoil with regards its image internationally and especially amongst the muslim countries, and he has tried to alter all that which quite effectively has meant altering a lot of work that was done by the previous administrations in furthering the US’s interests which effectively led to complete domination.

What he has forgotten is that a super power works in certain ways which at the end is about absolute dominance in what ever it does by having an axis of allies around it who help push the agenda and now with a changed approach and with an economic slide he is doing and would in future do some great harm in letting other opposing powers take center stage with a bigger say with the allies feeling alienated who will look at other power centers for guidance, the repercussions of which will be seen in another few years from now but by then a lot of harm caused to the image of dominance of the US will have become irreversible.

As far as I am concerned, it is certainly the dawn of a multi polar power centered world donning the horizon and Obama is making the way for it a lot more quicker and I am quite enjoying it for I have never been a fan of just one or two dominating the rest, and the best part, India was never an ally or will in future never be an ally of the US.

Only if Obama was to get a second term would it be all the more fun!
 

nrj

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Israel under Obama Pressure


U.S. President Barack Obama's demands during his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Tuesday point to an intention to impose a permanent settlement on Israel and the Palestinians in less than two years, political sources in Jerusalem say.

Israeli officials view the demands that Obama made at the White House as the tip of the iceberg under which lies a dramatic change in U.S. policy toward Israel.


Of 10 demands posed by Obama, four deal with Jerusalem: opening a Palestinian commercial interests office in East Jerusalem, an end to the razing of structures in Palestinian neighborhoods in the capital, stopping construction in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, and not building the neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo.

But another key demand - to discuss the dispute's core issues during the indirect talks that are planned - is perceived in Jerusalem as problematic because it implies that direct negotiations would be bypassed. This would set up a framework through which the Americans would be able to impose a final settlement.

It is not just Obama's demands that are perceived as problematic, but also the new modus operandi of American diplomacy. The fact that the White House and State Department have been in contact with Israel's European allies, first and foremost Germany, is seen as part of an effort to isolate Israel and put enormous political pressure on it.

Israeli officials say that the Obama administration's new policy contradicts commitments made by previous administrations, as well as a letter from George W. Bush in 2004 to the prime minister at the time, Ariel Sharon. According to this view, the new policy is also incongruous with the framework posed by Bill Clinton in 2000.

Senior Israeli sources say that as a result of the U.S. administration's policies, the Palestinians will toughen their stance and seriously undermine the peace process' chances of success.

Moreover, sources in Jerusalem say that the new American positions undermine the principle of credibility that has guided U.S. foreign policy since the end of World War II. Ignoring specific promises made to its Israeli ally would make other American allies lose trust in its commitments to them.

Israeli officials warn that if the United States shirks its past commitments, the willingness of the Israeli public to put its trust in future American guarantees will be undermined - as will the superpower's regional and international standing.



Another foolish move, now US want to give up Israel???
 
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ajtr

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Worrisome US policy

Barry Rubin

Favouring foes over friends will result in loss of credibility

Thinking about the Obama Administration’s foreign policy makes me keep coming back to the following joke:

Three men are on a small plane, the pilot, a very important person (various names are used when people tell this joke), and a young hiker. The plane’s motor goes out and it is going to crash. The pilot tells the two passengers: Sorry but we only have one extra parachute.

The celebrity sneers, “I should get it because I’m the smartest person in the world.” He grabs a pack and jumps out of the plane.

“Sorry, son,” says the pilot. “We don’t have any more parachutes.”

“Oh, yes we do,” answers the teenager, “the smartest man in the world just jumped out of the plane with my backpack.”

If I were a cartoonist illustrating the joke in this case, I’d show a smug Mr Obama jumping out of the plane with the backpack labelled, ‘US national interests’.

This reflection is prompted today by a very predictable story — predicted by me repeatedly — that the Administration is now further, and futilely, watering down projected sanctions on Iran in hope of getting Russian and Chinese support. Spring 2010 has arrived and after 15 months higher sanctions, or indeed any credible US deterrent, on Iran hasn’t. Even now it isn’t clear if the Obama Administration can get the nine votes needed in the UN Security Council to do anything.

Note that this is probably the last material effort the West will make to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Even if it takes Tehran a couple of years to do so, it’s unlikely — given how long and hard it is to get even some symbolic sanctions adopted — that low Administration will-power and international support will lead to anything else being done.

Incidentally, the Administration was supposed to be ready for this step, according to its own statements in September and then December 2009. That it still hasn’t worked out a broadly based plan is a sign of its incompetence. And remember this was a presidency which supposedly enjoyed strong international support.

Some are saying that sanctions wouldn’t deter Iran any way, therefore implying it doesn’t matter if nothing much is done at this point. There is some truth in the first part of that statement but not in the second portion. By implementing strong sanctions, an effective President would be forging an international coalition to get tougher down the road, reduce the assets available to Iran in order to slow down their project, scare large elements of the Iranian elite so they would be more cautious even when they get nuclear arms, make the Gulf Arabs more likely to resist Iranian demands and influence, along with other benefits.

That the Administration seems to understand none of these points is part of the problem. Here’s a statistic that might shock you: The Obama Administration is almost precisely one-third of the way through its term. If it hasn’t learned how to understand the world by now, prospects aren’t good for the remainder of its term. The best hope of improvement — that the Administration itself wakes up to the problem — is just about gone.

Let’s put it bluntly: The foreign policy of the Obama Administration, especially in West Asia, is a disaster and a future of very dangerous problems is completely foreseeable. Indeed, all of this was pretty obvious before the last Election Day.

About the only point the Administration and its supporters can claim — even the Guantanamo prison is still open! — is that this Administration has made the US more popular in the world. Actually, the polls don’t reflect that assertion to an impressive degree. Even when the numbers went up, they are Mr Obama’s personal popularity, not that of the US. And in key countries — Turkey and Pakistan come to mind but there are many others — the changes have not been big ones.

And even then, there is the point that popularity doesn’t get you anything material, as the lack of a consensus on Iran shows. In addition, the country which stands up for its interests is always going to be less popular in many places than the one which asks for nothing and gives away too much.

In West Asia, US policy is bad for Iranians who want to be free of their oppressive regime; for Turks who don’t want to live under an increasingly Islamist Government; for Arabs who don’t want to face Islamist rule, growing internal instability because of a revolutionary challenge, or to bow down to Iranian power.

It is also bad for Israel, but that is scarcely an isolated case. Even if US-Israel relations were perfect every other problem would still be there.

By systematically showing weakness, by favouring enemies over friends, the Administration is destroying US credibility in the region. By unintentionally encouraging enemies, the Government is inspiring them to strike harder and faster. By unintentionally discouraging friends, the Government is signalling them to shut up, back down, and even appease the radicals.

In Iran, the lack of White House support — despite formal statements about repression there — encourages the opposition to give up. In Turkey, the rivals of the regime believe that US policy is on the side of their own Government. In the Arabic-speaking world, the process of avoiding trouble with Tehran and its ally Damascus because the US is not seen as a reliable protector is well under way.
 

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