Another Manchurian Candidate, Barack Obama, Success – The Destruction of American Foreign Policy

World learns to manage without the US

Another Manchurian Candidate, Barack Obama, Success – The Destruction of American Foreign Policy

From an article by David P. Goldman
Asia Times
August 19, 2013

The giant sucking sound you here, I said on August 15 on CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, is the implosion of America’s influence in the Middle East. Vladimir Putin’s August 17 offer of Russian military assistance to the Egyptian army after US President Barack Obama cancelled joint exercises with the Egyptians denotes a post-Cold-War low point in America’s standing. Along with Russia, Saudi Arabia and China are collaborating to contain the damage left by American blundering. They have being doing this quietly for more than a year.

The pipe-dream has popped of Egyptian democracy led by a Muslim Brotherhood weaned from its wicked past, but official Washington has not woken up. Egypt was on the verge of starvation when military pushed out Mohammed Morsi. Most of the Egyptian poor had been living on nothing but state-subsidized bread for months, and even bread supplies were at risk. The military brought in US$12 billion of aid from the Gulf States, enough to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. That’s the reality. It’s the one thing that Russia, Saudi Arabia and Israel agree about.

America’s whimsical attitude towards Egypt is not a blunder but rather a catastrophic institutional failure. President Obama has surrounded himself with a camarilla (A group of confidential, often scheming advisers; a cabal), with Susan Rice as National Security Advisor, flanked by Valerie Jarrett, the Iranian-born public housing millionaire. Compared to Obama’s team, Zbigniew Brzezinski was an intellectual colossus at Jimmy Carter’s NSC. These are amateurs, and it is anyone’s guess what they will do from one day to the next.

By default, Republican policy is defined by Senator John McCain, whom the head of Egypt’s ruling National Salvation Party dismissed as a “senile old man” after the senator’s last visit to Cairo. McCain’s belief in Egyptian democracy is echoed by a few high-profile Republican pundits, for example, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Robert Kagan, and Max Boot. Most of the Republican foreign policy community disagrees, by my informal poll. Former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld blasted Obama for undermining the Egyptian military’s ability to keep order, but his statement went unreported by major media.

It doesn’t matter what the Republican experts think. Few elected Republicans will challenge McCain, because the voters are sick of hearing about Egypt and don’t trust Republicans after the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Neither party has an institutional capacity for intelligent deliberation about American interests. Among the veterans of the Reagan and Bush administrations, there are many who understand clearly what is afoot in the world, but the Republican Party is incapable of acting on their advice. That is why the institutional failure is so profound. Republican legislators live in terror of a primary challenge from isolationists like Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), and will defer to the Quixotesque McCain.

Other regional and world powers will do their best to contain the mess.

Russia and Saudi Arabia might be the unlikeliest of partners, but they have a profound common interest in containing jihadist radicalism in general and the Muslim Brotherhood in particular. Both countries backed Egypt’s military unequivocally. Russia Today reported August 7 that “Saudi Arabia has reportedly offered to buy arms worth up to $15 billion from Russia, and provided a raft of economic and political concessions to the Kremlin – all in a bid to weaken Moscow’s endorsement of Syrian President Bashar Assad.”

No such thing will happen, to be sure. But the Russians and Saudis probably will collaborate to prune the Syrian opposition of fanatics who threaten the Saudi regime as well as Russian security interests in the Caucasus. Chechnyan fighters – along with jihadists from around the world – are active in Syria, which has become a petrie dish for Islamic radicalism on par with Afghanistan during the 1970s.

The Saudis, meanwhile, have installed Chinese missiles aimed at Iran. There are unverifiable reports that Saudi Arabia already has deployed nuclear weapons sourced from Pakistan. The veracity of the reports is of small relevance; if the Saudis do not have such weapons now, they will acquire them if and when Iran succeeds in building nuclear weapons. What seems clear is that Riyadh is relying not on Washington but on Beijing for the capacity to deliver nuclear weapons. China has a profound interest in Saudi security. It is the largest importer of Saudi oil. America might wean itself of dependence on imported oil some time during the next decade, but China will need the Persian Gulf for the indefinite future.

A Russian-Chinese-Saudi condominium of interests has been in preparation for more than a year. On July 30, 2012, I wrote (for the Gatestone Institute):

The fact is that the Muslim Brotherhood and its various offshoots represent a threat to everyone in the region:

The Saudi monarchy fears that the Brotherhood will overthrow it (not an idle threat, since the Brotherhood doesn’t look like a bad choice for Saudis who aren’t one of the few thousand beneficiaries of the royal family’s largesse;
The Russians fear that Islamic radicalism will get out of control in the Caucasus and perhaps elsewhere as Russia evolves into a Muslim-majority country;
The Chinese fear the Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim people who comprise half the population of China’s western Xinjiang province.

But the Obama administration (and establishment Republicans like John McCain) insist that America must support democratically elected Islamist governments. That is deeply misguided. The Muslim Brotherhood is about as democratic as the Nazi Party, which also won a plebiscite confirming Adolf Hitler as leader of Germany. Tribal countries with high illiteracy rates are not a benchmark for democratic decision-making … As long as the United States declares its support for the humbug of Muslim democracy in Egypt and Syria, the rest of the world will treat us as hapless lunatics and go about the business of securing their own interests without us.

The Turks, to be sure, will complain about the fate of their friends in the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is little they can do. The Saudis finance most of their enormous current account deficit, and the Russians provide most of their energy.

Apart from the Egyptian events, American analysts have misread the world picture thoroughly.

On the American right, the consensus view for years held that Russia would implode economically and demographically. Russia’s total fertility rate, though, has risen from a calamitously low point of less than 1.2 live births per female in 1990 to about 1.7 in 2012, midway between Europe’s 1.5 and America’s 1.9. There is insufficient evidence to evaluate the trend, but it suggests that it is misguided to write Russia off for the time being. Not long ago, I heard the Russian chess champion and democracy advocate Gary Kasparov tell a Republican audience that Russia would go bankrupt if oil fell below $80 a barrel – an arithmetically nonsensical argument, but one the audience wanted to hear. Like it or not, Russia won’t go away.

American analysts view Russia’s problems with Muslims in the Caucasus with a degree of Schadenfreude. During the 1980s the Reagan administration supported jihadists in Afghanistan against the Russians because the Soviet Union was the greater evil. Today’s Russia is no friend of the United States, to be sure, but Islamist terrorism is today’s greater evil, and the United States would be well advised to follow the Saudi example and make common cause with Russia against Islamism.

In the case of China, the consensus has been that the Chinese economy would slow sharply this year, causing political problems. China’s June trade data suggest quite the opposite: a surge in imports (including a 26% year-on-year increase in iron ore and a 20% increase in oil) indicate that China is still growing comfortably in excess of 7% a year. China’s transition from an export model driven by cheap labor to a high-value-added manufacturing and service economy remains an enormous challenge, perhaps the biggest challenge in economic history, but there is no evidence to date that China is failing. Like it or not, China will continue to set the pace for world economic growth.

America, if it chose to exercise its power and cultivate its innate capabilities, still is capable of overshadowing the contenders. But it has not chosen to do so, and the reins have slipped out of Washington’s hands. Americans will hear about important developments in the future if and when other countries choose to make them public.

Mr. Goldman, president of Macrostrategy LLC, is a fellow at the Middle East Forum and the London Center for Policy Research.

All very nice. Now please let me know when the present 50,000 “refugees” go back “Home” as planned!

(Why does Israel insist on creating its own awful demographic problem and hurrying, Hashem forbid, its demise as a Jewish State?) jsk

All very nice. Now please let me know when the present 50,000 “refugees” go back “Home” as planned!

The Cush Connection

(Cush – In the Bible, the oldest son of Ham, who is presented as the progenitor of the Black people.

1. An ancient region of northeast Africa where the biblical descendants of Cush settled. It is often identified with Ethiopia.
2. An ancient kingdom of Nubia in northern Sudan. It flourished from the 11th century b.c. to the 4th century a.d., when its capital fell to the Ethiopians.
) jsk

Redacted from article By Jonathan Neumann
July 9, 2012

Jewish Ideas Daily
 
One year ago today, after decades of war with the hegemonic rulers of Khartoum, South Sudan declared independence. An elated Israel officially recognized the new state the next day. In the year since, many optimistic hopes for the Middle East and North Africa have been dashed; but in the case of South Sudan, Israel’s optimism was justified. Three areas in particular continue to hold promise: bilateral relations, migration, and geopolitics.

The new country of South Sudan has taken its place squarely with the Jewish state and attacked the Arab-led conspiracy against Israel in international organizations. Israel’s interest in Africa is long-standing. Theodor Herzl himself aspired, upon fulfillment of his vision for the Jews, to assist the Africans in their ‘‘redemption.’’

As foreign minister in the 1950s and 1960s, Golda Meir championed the Jewish state’s role in the development of the continent’s newly decolonized states: “Like them, we had shaken off foreign rule; like them, we had to learn for ourselves how to reclaim the land, how to increase the yields of our crops, how to irrigate, how to raise poultry, how to live together, and how to defend ourselves.”

Israel provided Africa with military aid; it even trained Mobutu Sese Seko, the Congolese general who became that country’s president.

 Whether motivated by Jewish beliefs, socialist principles, or geopolitical ambitions, Israel nonetheless failed to secure from these states the diplomatic support in world bodies that it craved—even when it provided unconditional aid.

Africans, in part persuaded by Arab portrayals of Israel as a colonizer and in part simply under pressure from the Arab League, cut ties with the Jewish state after the Yom Kippur War. But once the Middle East peace process began to take shape in the 1980’s, and then as the Soviet Union collapsed, Israel’s ties with African states warmed again.



The establishment of South Sudan, though, offers particular opportunities for Israel. To begin with, Israel boasts a history of support for South Sudanese secession: throughout the 1960s, Israel was the primary source of moral, diplomatic, and military aid to the rebels. No surprise then, that as Juba celebrated independence as South Sudan’s new capital city, Israeli flags were ubiquitous.

One of the city’s neighborhoods is called Jerusalem, and there is a Shalom Hotel near the airport.

No surprise then, either, that Israel was among the first foreign destinations on South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s itinerary, or that Kiir intends to locate the South Sudanese embassy in Jerusalem.

While there this past December, he announced that ‘‘Israel has always supported the South Sudanese people. Without you, we would not have arisen. You struggled alongside us in order to allow the establishment of South Sudan.’’ 

Israel’s role in the South Sudanese memory may have also served to attract the many migrants who made the perilous journey through Egypt over the last few years as the civil war in Sudan reached a climax.

Now, upwards of several thousand South Sudanese are thought to be living in Israel (most of the rest of Israel’s estimated fifty thousand African migrants are Sudanese and Eritrean). But, in what could provide a model of how the process of asylum should work—migrants flee war-ravaged country, war ends, migrants return—the South Sudanese government has cooperated with Israel in an effort to bring those migrants home. (Good luck!) 

Many are hoping that their return will cement a relationship which could prove highly beneficial to Israel.

Israel can provide South Sudan with the same economic assistance it has always sought to provide African states, but South Sudan might be more willing to reciprocate, and is in a position to do so. The state has access to large oil reserves and other natural resources, and, crucially, its position upriver from Egypt and Sudan along the Nile gives it helpful leverage against those countries.



With that in mind, South Sudan fits nicely into Israel’s emerging “periphery strategy,” whereby the Jewish state seeks to cultivate friendships with those states bordering the hostile Arab world. Netanyahu’s periphery strategy is complex, incorporating more countries and more common concerns. In addition to South Sudan, with its natural resources and strategic importance, another prospective partner is seen in Cyprus. Earlier this year, Netanyahu became the first Israeli leader to visit the island, and Cyprus is considering an Israeli request to position aircraft there. The two countries have been brought together by mutual concern over Turkey’s recent belligerence, but they are also cooperating in the exploitation of immeasurably valuable natural gas reserves recently discovered offshore. 



Those two concerns are also motivating the Israeli turn to Greece. Greece, given its close relationship with Cyprus, is naturally interested in the energy reserves, but it has also completed a mutual defense agreement with Israel, conducted joint military operations with Israel, and thwarted the Freedom Flotilla II, an attempted 2011 repeat of the 2010 maritime convoy which sought to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.



Energy interests and concern over Turkey have also pushed Israel and Balkan states Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia closer, and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Israel should be seen in part in the same light. A recent report suggested that Israel might have looked to Azerbaijan to stage an attack on Iran. Although the claim was likely nonsense, it underscored the geographical and policy range of Israel’s successful periphery drive, which stretches from Europe through Africa and Asia to India.



All this being said, South Sudan is hardly in a position of strength. Homelessness, food shortages, and disease are rampant; internal violence and external conflict continue; mortality and illiteracy rates are among the highest in the world; corruption is endemic; and human rights abuses are frequent. In short, the one-year-old country is well on its way to becoming a failed state.



But independence is nevertheless sweet, and, as President Kiir said in Israel:

“I am very moved to come to Israel and to walk on the soil of the Promised Land. As a nation that rose from dust, and as the few who fought the many, you have established a flourishing country that offers a future and economic prosperity to its children, I have come to see your success.”

One can only hope, for its own sake as well as Israel’s, that South Sudan might learn the secrets of this success.