Numerous questions remain regarding the Clusterfuck in Benghazi. Libya is in chaos. Egypt is still in turmoil. War rages in Syria. Our relationship with Israel is strained. How on Earth did Barack Obama fuck things up so badly?
In a word, “hubris”.
The area we call the “Middle East” has seen conflict since the beginning of recorded history. When the people of that region weren’t fighting with each other they were fighting against outsiders, when they weren’t being invaded they were invading others. The region has never really been unified.
The so-called “cradle of civilization” has mostly been a very uncivilized place. Not uncoincidentally, St. John the Divine prophesied that the final battle between good and evil would take place on the plain of Megiddo, which is an ancient crossroads of trade routes located in what is now called Israel.
Enter the Lightbringer, His Excellency Barack Hussein Obama. The Chosen One. Born in Hawaii to a white woman and an African man, raised as a Muslim in Indonesia and later converted to Christianity, He was, is and ever shall be the Magical Unity Pony who had transcended race and politics. Praise His holy name.
Obama appeared as a phenomenon as far as his own mode of existence was concerned. He was highly intellectual, profusely versed in history, broadly aware of the global issues of his time and consciously sensitive about his own symbolism, role and prospects. He was a family man, a community leader and a global politician at the same time: a man of history and a visionary. He had good looks. He was white, black and coloured. His name was African, American, and Asian. The name Obama was onomatopoetic sounding like ‘Hopama’. His history was multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. His religion was Christian and Islamic. He was above all very intellectual and articulate. He could shrewdly and strongly exploit and operate all these unique biographical elements and personal qualities in his American political discourse.
All of that stuff was, of course, bullshit. We figured it out before anybody else, but some people fell for it. They believed every word of it. Some of them still do. Unfortunately for all of us, one of those True Believers was Barack Obama. He heard his followers chanting “O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma!” and really thought he could fly.
One of the articles of faith that I learned during my years as a liberal Democrat is that “radical Islam” is really a reaction to political oppression and economic exploitation. Most Muslims are moderates who love peace and enlightenment. The minority of radical Muslims and jihadis that get all the attention are really just misguided souls in need of understanding.
I also learned that the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East is Zionism. If the Jews would quit oppressing and enslaving their Arab brothers we would have lasting peace. What America needs is an enlightened leader who understands this and who will finally make Israel negotiate in good faith to restore Palestine to the Palestinians.
I have to admit I kinda fell for the first one while I was in college, but I never believed that second one. Lots of people believe in both ideas, and Barack Obama is one of those people. His administration is filled with them.
Of course anyone who questioned Obama’s background and connections to anti-Semitic groups and individuals during the election was immediately denounced as a racist Islamophobe. Asking about the Rashid Khalidi tape was akin to birtherism. So was questioning the source of Obama’s campaign contributions.
So Barack Obama wins and he is now in charge of our foreign policy. As his signature foreign policy achievement he decides to remake the Middle East according to his vision. He appoints Hillary Clinton to help him. They will have a free hand because Russia is no longer a superpower. Obama will show everyone how foreign policy should be done.
Obama used Seal Team Six to end the long hunt for Osama bin Laden, begun under Bill Clinton and intensified after September 11th. He used his Drone War technology to blow up anyone resembling someone associated with al Qaeda, along with anybody in their vicinity. Now that the radicals were dead Obama could start reaching out to the Moderate Muslim Majority.
First of all Obama targeted three Arab dictators for removal – Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and Bashar Hafez al-Assad of Syria. Ironically, he ignored the leader of one of the most repressive regimes in the region, King Abdullah ibn Abdilazīz of Saudi Arabia.
By any objective standard the three men targeted by Obama were indeed dictators. But two of them were relatively friendly to the United States and the third was a toothless tiger who was almost a tacit ally. Egypt was officially our ally since the Seventies.
Nonetheless, Obama decreed that they had to go. But as a Nobel peace Prize recipient and anti-war candidate he couldn’t simply order our military to invade. So he decided to “lead from behind” and use his awesome diplomatic skills.
Publicly and privately Obama encouraged opposition groups within all three countries. He covertly provided military assistance to the rebels in Libya. He encouraged and/or allowed the Saudis to provide financial assistance. (Now you see why he left King Abdullah alone.) Before long there were uprisings taking place in all three countries and in other places in the Arab world. This was called “Arab Spring”.
Obama’s strategery was initially successful in Libya and Egypt. Gaddafi was overthrown, then killed and his body defiled (or defiled then killed). Mubarak agreed to step down. Aside from a few rapes in Tahrir Square, everything was going great.
Except in Syria. Assad stubbornly refused to recognize the superior intellect of Obama and insisted on clinging to power. He responded to the Arab Spring uprising with arrests and brutality. This was problematic because Obama could not use direct military force without alienating and/or angering pretty much everyone in both parties except John McCain.
Obama (or one of his henchmen) had a stroke of genius. Round up all those stray weapons in Libya and ship them to the rebels in Syria! Win-win! So what if it was illegal as hell and the American people would not approve. That’s why God created covert operations.
There was just one small flaw in Obama’s master plan for world peace – the people. In each of the countries where the Arab Spring uprisings were successful (Tunisia, Yemen, Libya and Egypt) either the new government turned out to be worse than the old one or there is no new government. Libya is a failed state. Egypt has a new dictator who is crushing the Muslim Brotherhood (which turned out to be not-so moderate after all.) Yemen is in the midst of a civil war. Tunisia is still sorting things out more-or-less peacefully but nobody seems to give a shit what happens there. Assad appears to be winning the civil war in Syria.
Al Qaeda is flourishing everywhere but Syria where they are gradually losing. Russia and Iraq have taken full advantage of the unrest and chaos to advance their strategic interests. American influence in the region is waning. Relations between Israel and the United States are at an all-time low. We still don’t know how this will all play out in the long run, but it doesn’t look good.
Obama’s foreign policy is in shambles. He is openly mocked by world leaders. Apparently they don’t recognize his greatness either. Damn racists.
All because of Obama’s hubris in thinking that he was somehow special and his skin color and Muslim background would make the difference. Well I guess he was partly right – he did make a difference, just not the one he thought.
Too bad no one foresaw any of this. Oh, wait . . . we did.