Tuesday, October 27, 2015

America Is Losing Its Allies In The Middle East

Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad enter a hall during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow. (REUTERS/ALEXEI DRUZHININ/RIA NOVOSTI/KREMLIN)

Eli Lake & Josh Rogin, Bloomberg: U.S. Is Driving Mideast Allies Toward Putin

America’s traditional Middle East allies, having run out of patience with President Barack Obama's policy in Syria, are now reaching out to a resurgent Russia -- even though it is bolstering the very dictator so many of them have pushed to leave power.

Some in Washington see the new ties as a threat to U.S. interests, especially because the U.S. has worked since the 1970s to keep Russian influence out of the Middle East. But the Obama administration sees an opportunity. The State Department is now quietly encouraging U.S. allies to engage with Moscow, as part of Secretary John Kerry's quest to win Russian support for a political process in Syria.

Kerry is the main U.S. official still arguing for cooperation with Russia to start peace talks that could resolve the Syrian civil war. But the Russian response has been consistently to rebuke Kerry’s offers. Since Kerry began his latest diplomacy push in the spring, the Russians have sent tanks, bombers and soldiers to Syria. The Russian air force has focused its bombing on the U.S.-backed opposition instead of the Islamic State, the terrorists whom Kerry believes present a common enemy for Russia and the U.S.

WNU Editor: I am still trying to digest what has happened (and is happening) in the Middle East. On the one hand the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars in the Middle East, lost thousands of soldiers .... tens of thousands wounded .... keeps a massive military/economic/diplomatic presence in the region .... but is now being  perceived by almost everyone as being a declining power that is losing influence and clout in the Middle East. On the other hand .... Russia has stayed out of the Middle East for decades but decided two months ago to deploy a few thousand soldiers, send some military aid to Syria, and deploy a few dozen aircraft .... but are now being perceived as the power brokers in the Middle East .... and the country that everyone in the region must work and deal with.

Am I the only one who sees how bizarre this is?

14 comments:

Philip said...

It's a relatively simple answer. The Obama administration has other objectives (one foreign policy-related, the rest domestic) and is determined to achieve them before January 2017.

Whether or not Mr. Kerry and other officials involved in the Middle East can be counted as being on the first-string of the team, however, is up for conjecture.

Guillermo Robles AmenĂ¡bar said...

Bush was stupid, Obama is weak, Hillary is so lost...

James said...

Philip,
"It's a relatively simple answer. The Obama administration has other objectives (one foreign policy-related, the rest domestic) and is determined to achieve them before January 2017." You've got the US Administration's behavior down cold, especially tying behavior back to domestic politics.
WNU,
No you're not the only one. I've been saying since day one the actions of the western participants is bizarre and unfathomable.

James said...

To illuminate a little farther. Everyone is lying. Everyone has been lying for a long time. Virtually everyone knows that everyone is lying. A very large percentage of the liars have begun to believe the lies. Though almost everyone knows that everyone is lying almost no one knows what is true anymore. If it didn't entail the suffering and death of massive amounts of people it would be quite funny.

phill said...

If the Russians get bogged down and the air strikes don't have an impact....public opinion would change.

Air power has it's limits.

Guillermo Robles AmenĂ¡bar said...

Are you saying we face a no win situation?

Jay Farquharson said...

WNU Editor,

You may have noticed that everything that the U.S. has touched in the Middle East from Clinto on, became broken,

And every so called attempt to allegedly "fix" things, has only made things worse.

And the combination of failures and exhaustion has made US involvement in the ME poison for the electorate.

The U.S. has shot it's wad.

jj said...

Agree with Jay .. give it up,declare victory and go home ..

Jay Farquharson said...

jj,

Sadly, they won't.

As Gen. Wesley Clark noted, the goal was to destroy 7 Middle East nations in 5 years.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw

Jay Farquharson said...

WNU Editor,

To put it another way, would you invite the U.S. over for dinner, a few beers and putting together some IKEA Billy bookcases?

Of course not. By midnight, drone strikes would have destroyed your kitchen, Special Forces would have destroyed your bathroom, cruise missiles would have taken out the power, you would have been repeatably sodomized with objects and waterboarded over the missing dowels, your GF would have been sold off to a Quatari or Saudi Prince as a sex slave, your surviving kids would be recreating Lord of the Flies with real heads and blanket forts in what remained of your living room,



And Ingvar Kamprad would have been renditioned to some hidden Black Site and repeatably tortured until he explained exactly, the hidden pictographs in the Billy assembly brochure.

Philip said...

Bush was stupid, Obama is weak, Hillary is so lost...

One major flaw here is attributing it all to the individual, rather than the individual and the people behind and alongside them.

I've been saying since day one the actions of the western participants is bizarre and unfathomable.

James, consider this: What if the foreign policy objective of the current administration was to disengage from Europe and the Middle East, and focus on Asia and the Pacific Rim, and it was to be pursued nearly-monomaniacally? And whatever was done in those regions was to manage the disengagement?

You may have noticed that everything that the U.S. has touched in the Middle East from Clinto on, became broken

Ah, Mr. Farquharson - that's because the U.S.does not have one constant focus on the Middle East, thanks to different political parties taking office and having different priorities. Nasty, sweaty politics. Far better to have one, permanently-entrenched, intellectually-enlightened elite to decide what's really important, eh?

To put it another way, would you invite the U.S. over for dinner, a few beers and putting together some IKEA Billy bookcases?

Droll.

James said...

Philip,
"James, consider this: What if the foreign policy objective of the current administration was to disengage from Europe and the Middle East, and focus on Asia and the Pacific Rim, and it was to be pursued nearly-monomaniacally? And whatever was done in those regions was to manage the disengagement?" I could go for that. Even with the TPPA (I think I have that right) agreement just recently signed, I'm still in the dark even there. Assuming they have a coherent strategy for the Rim and Asia their behavior leaves me little in the way of clues. Oh, when you said "And whatever was done in those regions was to manage the disengagement?", did you mean Europe and the ME? Anyway, what do you think they are up to in the Rim and Asia? I'm curios of what you think.

Philip said...

Oh, when you said "And whatever was done in those regions was to manage the disengagement?", did you mean Europe and the ME?

Yes, I meant both those places.

Even with the TPPA (I think I have that right) agreement just recently signed, I'm still in the dark even there. Assuming they have a coherent strategy for the Rim and Asia their behavior leaves me little in the way of clues.

James, let's try these:

1. Forge a comprehensive, overarching agreement; ostensibly on trade, but covering, or laying the groundwork, for other areas.

2. Avoid a confrontation with China. The objective being to convince the PRC that it's in their best interest to become a signatory to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

3. Similar to actions taken in Europe and the ME, do just enough to attempt to calm one's putative allies, both foreign and domestic.

James said...

Phillip,
I get all that, especially ( laying the groundwork, for other areas.), but where are they going ultimately? With their obsession with domestic politics which I see as a the driving force of their policies in Europe and the ME, any continuation of such a policy in the Pacific would be the mark of extreme isolationism and total abandonment of allies and agreements made over the years.
They (US) make a big show on the agreement and negotiation side, then come implementation it's the old SNL gag line "never mind).
Appreciate the reply.