Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Chicken Hawks

I can't imagine Reince Priebus is too excited about Donald Trump joining the presidential race, especially with him polling in the top ten of the straw polls, which will determine the line-up for the debates.  The Donald is not afraid to stir the pot, and will no doubt go after Ted Cruz on his citizenship, which he has already done.

The walking hair piece isn't done there.  He is openly taking the Obama administration to task over the rise of ISIS in the Muslim world and says he has a "foolproof plan" to get rid of them once and for all.  Of course, he's not saying much as he believes secrecy is the key to his plan's success, hinting only that he would find a general like Patton or MacArthur to carry out his orders.  No pussyfooting around, as he believes the President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff have done.

Lindsey Graham also feels the President has been soft on ISIS, lashing out at the Commander-in-Chief  as a man who leads from behind, in an interview with Israeli television.  If he became President, the United States would definitely take the missionary position.  Of course, what our Southern belle fails to mention is that the policy of "containment" had long been a Republican strategy, fostered by Henry Kissinger during the Nixon administration.  The policy has a long history dating back to the Truman administration, which of course disgruntled generals like MacArthur, who felt the US was letting the Soviet Union off the hook.  Eisenhower, a five-star general himself, was famous for his "hidden-hand approach," which it seems Obama has emulated.

It was only with the Bush Doctrine that we saw a dramatic shift in foreign policy.  Even Reagan and H.W. Bush subscribed to the theory of containment when it came to dealing with our existential enemies.  Gone are all nuances with Bush 43.

The Republican field seems eager to take on Foreign Policy when the only candidate with any experience in this regard is Lindsey Graham, who subscribes wholeheartedly to the Bush Doctrine, and has adamantly defended it on the campaign trail.  This may play well with right-wing hawks in Israel, but Americans have lost their appetite for such forms of engagement, and would prefer to leave the matter of radical Islamic sliver groups to the countries they are fighting in.

We have already seen what "foolproof plans" can do.  The militantism we see in Iraq and Syria is a direct outgrowth of our involvement in these two states.  Of course, we hear apologists like Paul Bremer stating that it was Obama's withdrawal from Iraq that led to this rise in militantism, making the utterly absurd claim that during the Bush administration they had wiped out al Qaeda, and that ISIS is an entirely new radical movement.

He seems to forget that it was the Obama administration that ultimately rooted out Osama bin Laden and killed him in a Navy Seal operation, not the Bush administration.  But, here too the President's motives are being questioned by Seymour Hersch, who claims this was an inside job aided by the Pakistani government, and the raid nothing more than a front.

The aim here seems to be to diminish what are seen as Obama's foreign policy accomplishments and accentuate what are seen as his failures.  The rise of ISIS allows the Republicans to let Benghazi slide quietly into the background, treating ISIS as a national security issue which the Democrats are hopelessly incapable to contend with.  Yet, not mentioning that it is the Republican Congress that has yet to grant the President's war powers act, which would give him greater latitude in the region.

Not that it will accomplish anything, as what military advisers lament most is the lack of willingness to deal with the issue from Iraqi armed forces.  As a result, Shi'a military forces from Iran have been called in to help deal with the crisis.  What we are seeing is a classic Shi-a vs. Sunni confrontation, splitting the Muslim world.

The Arab league backs the Sunni insurgence, notably the House of Saud, who was demonstrably upset with the Obama administration for reaching out to Iran.  Saudi Arabia blames Iran-backed militants for the uprising in neighboring Yemen.  As a result, the new Saudi King skipped on the Gulf Summit, citing a previously scheduled engagement.  Of course, this snub is seen as a direct reflection on the Obama policy in the region by conservatives.  However, Colbert King writes in a WP article that the House of Saud has long staged such defiant protests when it suited its interests, regardless of who was president at the time.

What we need is more engagement and less confrontation, but what can you expect from a walking hair piece and a Southern belle desperate to make their marks on the Republican campaign trail.  In their minds, the only ally that counts is Israel.  The rest of the world is just one big playground in which to show off America's latest military toys, as far as they are concerned.

It is an attitude that has profoundly damaged our standing in the world, and one it seems Obama is anxious to free himself from the last two years of his administration.  He has removed Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, which has similarly outraged Presidential wannabes, including Jeb Bush.  I doubt Jeb batted an eyelash when his brother removed North Korea from this list in an effort to salvage a fragile nuclear deal back in 2008.

The Republicans seem to revel in making bald-faced assertions, counting on an undiscerning electoral base.  Of course, they have Fox News and a vast conservative blogosphere to back up their allegations.  Here is Fox's Lou Dobbs, who normally reports on business news, ranting against Obama removing Cuba from the axis of evil.  

Like it or not, Reince, the Donald is perfect for your debates.  He can lord over them like the host of Celebrity Apprentice.  It would be wise for the GOP to come up with a better way of vetting their prospective presidential candidates than straw polls.

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