CHARLOTTE, January 27, 2014 – Thanks to Barack Obama’s weak and naïve foreign policies combined with the equally unsatisfactory qualifications of his secretaries of state in the persons of Hillary Clinton and, now, John Kerry, the Middle East is more dangerous than ever.
Forget about the fiasco in Benghazi, Libya which cost four Americans their lives. Some say it was important while others say it was not. Ms. Clinton said it made no difference. Even if we eliminate that facet of U.S. diplomacy from the region, there are plenty of other missteps that have led to greater instability for the West in a part of the world where “stability” is only a matter of degree.
Simply put, the Obama administration has played a dangerous game by yielding concessions to Iran that were supposed to dispel their nuclear threat. The result has been a trio of alliances that are a mixed bag of strange bedfellows that do not favor American interests.
The nuances of the deals that have been made or are in progress are complex beyond recognition or definition. Suffice it to say that, at the moment, none are beneficial to the United States and, for the most part, the West.
Given the slap on the wrist policies over their nuclear program, the economic benefits of oil and natural gas alliances between Iran and other nations stand to override any sanctions placed upon them.
Word is that a major energy deal is being negotiated between Europe, Turkey and Iran. Europe has a need for natural gas and is heavily dependent on Russia to fill that void. Add the Shiite/Sunni aspects of economic wheeling and dealing to the mix and it is easy to see how quickly things become complicated.
The situation is so dangerous that it is forcing Saudi Arabia, which has always focused first and foremost on self-preservation, to turn toward Israel as a partner in combating Iran’s nuclear program. That alone is a “Twilight Zone” script.
Obama’s half-hearted support, if you can call it that, of Israel combined with additional Middle Eastern boners is also leading other countries closer to Russia and China.
Both Saudi Arabia and nearby Bahrain have been less than pleased with U.S. support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey and Egypt. It doesn’t help our image that Barack Obama relies on several members of his administration with ties to the MB for advice. Egypt is already looking to Russia to plug the hole created by American policies. The Saudis, too, are now looking for security from the Russians.
Much of this gets short shrift in American media. It is too complex to explain to an uninterested, indifferent public. Justin Bieber is easier to understand. The Super Bowl is more important. Traffic on the George Washington Bridge takes precedence.
Meanwhile, Iran gets stronger. The fuse in the Middle East gets shorter. Then, when the Shiites hit the fan, we always wonder what happened.
By definition Washington is, and always will be, a political place that thrives on controversy, debate and divisiveness. Despite that, those politics are supposed to benefit the American people rather than be a personal toy for presidential tyranny. Barack Obama is not a Messiah, even though he thinks he walks on water. Neither is he a king. He is not a dictator either.
Healthcare is an unmitigated disaster. The economy, though improving slightly, remains weak. The White House is rampant with misinformation and scandal. The list is endless.
Difficult as it may be to pinpoint which problem is worse, our foreign policy mistakes may be the most damaging to United States role in the international arena. Given the global status of the world today, those fallacies could affect all the rest.
America needs to realize that while we can be a major driving force in the world, we can longer survive without trusted allies around the globe. If we continue to misunderstand that role, when it comes down to the nitty gritty, we could discover, as significant foreign friendships go, that we are a “land without any countries.”
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com).
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