It’s really tough to make a bad situation worse.
James Picht declares that Barack Obama is the worst foreign policy president ever. Rumor has it Jimmy Carter is all smiles.
Picht says our Middle Eastern policy is incoherent. Obama on Syria: The worst foreign policy president – ever
Obama’s botched efforts in the Middle East serve to remind us that there’s no situation so bad that dedicated ineptitude can’t make it worse. His administration team has done just that. American foreign policy goals in the region are now completely unclear.
Obama’s dithering in Egypt has antagonized everyone there, has been interpreted as support of deposed President Mohamed Morsi, and has pushed Egypt directly into Russia’s embrace. No one knows whether our goal in Egypt is stability or democracy. We appear to back Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, which is backed also by Hamas, which in turn is supported by Iran, but our support appears completely irrelevant. Egypt’s new leaders have concluded they can safely ignore us(Obama).
The fiasco in Syria is worse. Is our goal there regime change? Is the goal still regime change even if that puts jihadists in charge? The Syrian rebels are supported by al-Qaeda and Hamas, and opposed by Iran, which with Russia supports Assad. Where exactly in all this do our interests lie? Are we really on the side of al-Qaeda?
Do we intend to back the monarchy in Bahrain, no matter how repressive it grows, in order to keep the base that houses our Fifth Fleet? Bahrain will eventually explode, but American support of the monarchy gives it free reign to repress the freedom movement and clamp down the pressure-cooker lid even more tightly.
The Obama Administration has dissembled its way across the Middle East, leaving enemies and allies alike uncertain of our intentions. Russia, China and Iran have been much more transparent. Saudi Arabia immediately gave Egypt’s General Sisi $12 billion in aid after the army deposed Morsi, the first democratically elected leader in Egypt’s 5,000-year history. Obama in contrast withdrew from joint military exercises but seemed uncertain whether to cut other aid.
Russia has clearly backed Syria’s Assad, while Obama has dithered over a military response to nerve gas attacks against civilians. If there is a response, it now seems designed to punish Assad without actually hurting him.
After months of tacitly supporting the rebels, the administration seems desperate to avoid hitting important military targets when it punishes Assad. And to the horror of American military leadership, the administration has planned its attack in public, all but sending Assad a map of likely targets.
As a result, Obama has come to be more disliked in the Middle East than the evil Bush:
The Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project finds that support for the United States is lower now in Egypt, Jordan and Pakistan than it was in 2008. Approval for Obama’s policies was only 15 percent in Muslim countries last spring; what that rate would be now in Egypt and Syria is anyone’s guess, but a safe guess would be “lower.”
Truly amazing. It is hard to imagine the level of incompetence that is required for our foreign policy to be in such disarray. But there it is.