by James Lewis
I doubt that President Obama loves the name "Captain America," but that's the job he was elected to do in 2008. National security is the president's first job. But Obama has been by far the most catastrophic captain of the ship of state in American history in every conceivable way.
The last two weeks have seen more dagger-stabs in the back to the Muslim Middle East: yes, Obama has tried shafting Israel over and over again, but also the much more fragile Saudis and Gulf oil states, a very vulnerable Egypt (by publicly endorsing overthrowing President Mubarak and supporting a Muslim Brothers grab for his office), Libya (which had abandoned its nuclear program after Bush invaded Iraq), and now Iraq itself.
Retired Army General John M. Keane just denounced Obama's off-like-a-rabbit strategy from Iraq. Keane was the author of the "U.S. surge" that essentially won that war -- though not to the point of permanent stability. We stayed in Japan and Germany for decades after winning those wars.
"Forty-four hundred lives lost," Gen. Keane said. "Tens of thousands of troops wounded. Over a couple hundred thousand Iraqis killed. We liberated 25 million people. There is only one Arab Muslim country that elects its own government, and that is Iraq."
"We should be staying there to strengthen that democracy, to let them get the kind of political gains they need to get and keep the Iranians away from strangling that country. That should be our objective, and we are walking away from that objective."
The Heritage Foundation is also sounding the alarm. Even Senator McCain sounds outraged and alarmed, and it takes a lot to do that.
Now StrategyPage reports that the Syrian Army is on the run against the rebels, meaning that Sunni Muslims are likely to take over from the minority Shiite regime of the Assads.
Just last week StrategyPage reported that the "Arab Spring" has turned into an enormous massacre, taking some 25,000 lives. But watch -- the New York Times still thinks it's Springtime for Hitler in Tehran.
Add to all that the giant Islamist election turnout in Tunisia, and the new piratical "liberators" of Libya, and we are seeing a huge radicalization and throwback of the entire Arab Middle East.
The winners? The radical reactionaries of Iran, Turkey, and the Sunni Arab countries. The losers? Modernization, democracy, and peace.
In maritime history, the captain would be the last person to abandon ship. In Obama's administration, the captain is "leading from behind."
Just watch his dust as he scampers off over the horizon.
When Jimmy Carter shafted the shah of Iran in 1979, a million people died in the resulting Iran-Iraq War. The Gulf War of 1992 followed Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, another consequence of Jimmy's gross abandonment of the most stable regime in the Middle East.
Obama has now wrapped up Carter's betrayal of the Muslim Middle East. Carter destroyed only one powerful American ally. Obama has started to do in all the others.
There's just one spot of light in the Egyptian darkness: Israel is turning out to be the single most stable government in the region, bar none. While Syria is tottering and Egypt has crashed, while Libya is now controlled by rebels with reported al-Qaeda links and even Tunisia has huge radical Muslims demonstrations, with an al-Qaeda civil war going on in Yemen and Iranian nuclear weapons soon to be 50 miles away from Saudi oil fields, only Israel has not even bothered to have a parliamentary election. Israel has seen a big but peaceful "Cottage Cheese Rebellion" against the high price of food.
Israel (and Cyprus) have together discovered a vast shale source of natural gas under the Mediterranean, thereby driving the radical Turkish "neo-Ottoman" regime into stuttering incoherence. Because Israel liberalized its economy under Benjamin Netanyahu as finance minister ten years ago, it has largely escaped the chaos of the Greek and Spanish defaults, to be followed by other European governments running out of welfare money to buy votes.
If you want to have a permanent American ally in the Middle East, you've got to have only one choice left: Israel. Egypt has lost control over the Sinai Desert, the huge buffer between the contending tank armies of previous wars. Syria has a Russian naval base. Lebanon is controlled by Iran. Iran has now been run for thirty years by hair-raising maniacs with an advanced nuclear program.
If Obama's suicidal actions in the Middle East don't lead to a major regional war, it will only be a matter of dumb luck. I'm placing my bets the other way. I'm sorry. I think we're in for big, big trouble.
Jimmy Carter's stab-in-the-back to the shah killed more than a million people and enabled the rise of the first truly throwback (12th-century) Islamofascist regime in the Middle East.
Pretty soon, Obama will have to return his Nobel Peace Prize to Oslo. I sure hope the Peace Prize Committee included return postage with his shiny medal, so he won't have to spend his own money FedExing it back to sender.
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