« 14,000 sex victims in DoD were male. | Main | The Lives of Others - TTG »

06 June 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


"protesting an anti-Islam video that nobody in Libya had ever seen or even heard about."

Aren't you pushing it a bit?


Harper, they don't have Internet or satellite TV in Libya? I come here for rational discussion, not Fox like hyperbole.

Babak Makkinejad

I think you are mis-reading US President.

He wants to concentrate on domestic issues in US; thus he has appointed two phlegmatic fellows to be in DoD and in DoS.

Now, he has appointed two loyalists to US NSC and to UN; making sure that they would keep things quiet in his second term.

He might be all of what you attribute to him but he is not stupid; he knows that his room for making significant improvements to US position in the Middle East does not exist - nationally and internationally.

Why harm himself with Quixotic effort that would only diminish him?

You could say that he made a mistake leaving Middle East policy in the hands of Hillary Clinton and Tom Donilon - he has now corrected that error, it seems.

I do not think there has been a realist voice inside USG since Nixon left the arena.


I agree with Harpers analysis. All of it. Narcissists like Obama tend to want to be surrounded by people who tell them exactly what they want to hear, but in a highly particular manner that doesn't make them look like complete sycophants, so Harpers painting of the workings of Obamas inner circle, including the "feezing out" of dissonant voices, sounds credible to me.

The issue now that will determine U.S. policy in the Middle East is to ask the question: "What policy and action will most satisfy Obamas ego?" Nothing else matters.

Alba Etie

We often agree here- on this I disagree with you and Harper . We are not going to Syria. And I guess I just do not see the evidence that Obama is a narcissists - can you help me with that assertion ?


"I do not think there has been a realist voice inside USG since Nixon left the arena."

You overlook Bush Sr. and Jim Baker. I visited the House of History in Bonn, and there were some phone minutes between Bush Sr. and Kohl on display. Fascinating reads. Both stressed the necessity not screw the Russians (because that would kill the deal). Jim Baker promised no eastwards expansion of NATO. The whole reunification of Germany and the 4+2 negotiations were an exercise in realism. A stellar performance IMO, for which Germany owes the US gratitude.

The Clinton crowd, of course, gave a crap about such assurances or concerns. They felt the US had won, and they behaved that way.

What they did to Russia is hard to forgive from a Russian point of view. Past and more recent US behaviour towards Russia has not suggested attitudes have changed significantly. The US screwed Russia in 2003 to have their Iraq War, Obama screwed the Russians over Libya and so on. Why on earth should the Russians trust the US with such a record?

What I have taken away from international law classes was is that the only reliable universal international currency is goodwill. Where that is lacking, bribery or threats may do. But there is a point when all this won't suffice any more.

That is the very simple explanation for the invisible wall Bush Jr. ran into and that led to the pathetic joke called the 'coalition of the willing'. For this lack of support he had no one to blame but himself - all that goodwill that existed after 9/11 - squandered.

Now, of course, the prevailing idea in his administration was that Hegemons don't need goodwill, because they have irresistible power. That is why and how they can ignore all the before said.

They also don't need reason. Only that can explain how one can make a demand like 'drop dead' to a regime one doesn't like and consider that an reasonable negotiating position and a brilliant idea. Now, that is not a problem, because Hegemons, as the nutty Mr. Bolton once quipped, 'don't do carrots'. They don't need to because of their irresistible power.

How well did that served approach Bush Jr.? How well does it now serve Obama on Syria and Iran?

Obama's soft power approach is more subtle than Bush's coarse posturing, but the US still do not negotiate in good faith with their opponents. So far they have not taken up a habit of formulating serious negotiating positions vis a vis their enemies - the policy of regime change is still a given.

I always thought that untrustworthiness is a liability. I have come to see it that in the US it is considered an image problem.


"Realist?"? That's rich....

Cold war muck...that is what he, and the Foreign Policy Elite are stuck in. Obama included. There has not been a 'new idea' in American Foreign Policy since Nixon went to China.


you have to understand that obama like power and rice are products of Anglo-Dutch.
We are not dealing with responsible people.
The U.S. problem is that it is subject to the Empire. What you need to do is to revive and implement Glass Steagall. Unique to prevent World War III.


Susan Rice has become a most favored asset with the American close supporters of the Netanyahu government. From her Hebrew opening to a speech to an AIPAC rabbis meeting, to constant battles against the "anti-Israel crap" at the UN Security Council, Rice has the support of Bibi and Company.

Interesting description from The Forward, November 2012

But as America’s top representative to the body that came to symbolize the anti-Israel sentiment of the international community, Rice had plenty of opportunities to prove her support to Israel by working to defeat resolutions and measures aimed at censuring and denouncing Israel, or as she herself put it, battling “the anti-Israel crap.”
Rice used her first veto to block a Security Council resolution criticizing Israel’s settlement policy. She fought against resolutions based on the Goldstone Report, which criticized Israel’s actions during the Gaza conflict, and she spurred the U.S. to withdraw from the Durban review conference in 2009.

Read more: http://forward.com/articles/166816/susan-rice-wins-over-israel-supporters/?p=all#ixzz2VTgwlXNy


State Department cables released to the public, sent from Tripoli to Washington as the attacks of 9/11/12 were taking place made clear that it was a premeditated and organized and well armed terrorist attack. The earliest cables named Ansar al-Sharia as the group leading the attack. There was never a first-hand report from Benghazi indicated there was a protest demonstration. All of that was conjured up after the fact to cover for the 9/11 attack at a time that the President was claiming that Al Qaeda had been decimated with the killing of OBL and other actions against the jihadists. It was the heat of the campaign. This is not Fox TV propaganda or hyperbole. Unfortunately, this is how it went down. The DCM in Tripoli who was the last person to speak to Chris Stevens before he died was horrified at Rice's TV commentaries and Obama's UNGA speech. The people on the ground knew what happened, reported it accurately back to Washington, and enough of the documents are out in the public domain to make the case clear. It is unfortunate that Fox TV has been such a polarizing force in American political life that well-documented truth cannot be tolerated if it has the remote odor of having been reported on Fox.

William R. Cumming

Again IMO the President is playing towards his record in the history books not his ego.

And the test of the realism of a FP is what is done not what is said IMO!


The real 'screwing' was the financial one done to the citizens of the former USSR. The same Wall$treet crowd is busying doing the same to US and Europeans now.


CP, does the Bush I-Baker loan guarantee freezes in the early 90's support your claim of realism?

Clifford Kiracofe

IMO, this raises the issue of the "Obama Legacy" so-called. The foreign policy record so far has not been optimal to say the least as we have discussed here for the last 4 years of the first term.

If the "realists" are outgunned by Rice and Power, then what does this say for armed intervention in Syria and elsewhere? What about turning up the "Human Rights" rhetoric and raising further problems with Russia, China, and others?

How is Rice's well known abrasive personality going to impact on interagency coordination and cooperation? How disruptive will Rice be to the operations of the Executive?

Both Rice and Power are wedded to the R2P ideology so dear to Tony Blair, the Brit Fabians, etal. Can remaining "realists" deter unnecessary interventionism which no doubt will be advocated by Rice and Power?

Obama may just have further doomed his so-called "Legacy" with these two appointments. Rice does not need confirmation but Power does. How will Republicans handle Power when the McCaniacs buy into not only Neoconism but also into her Humanitarian Interventionism?

William R. Cumming

If the Republicans take the Senate in 2014 as I predict and hold both houses of Congress, then Katy-Bar-The-Door on FP after the election in the President's final two years.

William R. Cumming

If the Republicans win the open seats in Massachusetts and New Jersey later on this year this might just indicate some kind of momentum for the Republicans.


I agree.... What specific examples of narcissism, outside of ambition and drive?

 Larry Kart

Don't know about Rice but the so-called Republican Jewish Committee is very much opposed to the nomination Power because of her (in their view) anti-Israel views: http://www.rjchq.org/2013/06/rjc-statement-on-the-nomination-of-samantha-power-to-be-u-n-ambassador/

William R. Cumming

Yhank you FRED! Yes Wall Street loves all oligarchs foreign or domestic and that sets the tone for their efforts internationally.

The President will no doubt be on Wall Street for his next job.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad