Monday, March 30, 2015

Obama's "Willful Ignorance" and "Free Fall"

Former Defense Head: Obama's Mideast Policy Is "Willful Ignorance"
- Josh Hicks 

The former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency described President Obama's Middle East policy as one of "willful ignorance," saying the
administration needs a clearer strategy for dealing with conflicts emerging across the region.

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn [pictured], said during an interview that recent developments in the Middle East are moving in a bad direction for the U.S., with Iran "clearly on the march."

"We have to stop what we're doing and take a hard look at everything going on in the Middle East because it's not going in the right direction."
(Washington Post)

Arab States Gear Up for War - David Schenker and Gilad Wenig  

Over the weekend, the Arab League met in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and endorsed the creation of an intervention force to fight terrorism in the Middle East. The main driver is Egyptian President Sisi, supported by King Abdullah II of Jordan and King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

The willingness of Arab states to finally sacrifice blood and treasure to defend the region from terrorism and Iranian encroachment is a positive development.

But it also represents a growing desperation in the shadow of Washington's shrinking security role in the Middle East.
Mr. Schenker is the director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, where Mr. Wenig is a research associate.

(Wall Street Journal)

Aide to Iranian President Defects - Ahmed Vahdat & Richard Spencer

Amir Hossein Motaghi, who managed public relations for Iranian president Hassan Rouhani during his 2013 election campaign, has sought political asylum in Switzerland after travelling to Lausanne to cover the nuclear talks between Tehran and the West. Motaghi said he no longer saw any "sense" in his profession as a journalist at the Iran Student Correspondents Association as he could only write what he was told. "My conscience would not allow me to carry out my profession in this manner anymore."

In a television interview, Motaghi also gave succor to Western critics of the proposed nuclear deal, which has seen the White House pursue a more conciliatory line with Tehran: "The U.S. negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran's behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal," he said.

Free Fall in the Middle East - Walter Russell Mead

The mainstream media will still do all it can to avoid connecting the dots or drawing attention to the stark isolation in which the White House now finds itself as ally after ally drops away. It still doesn't want to admit that the "smart diplomacy" crowd has been about as effective at making a foreign policy as the famous emperor's smooth-talking tailors were at making a new suit of clothes.
The shocked silence of the foreign policy establishment, the absence of any statements of support from European or Asian allies about our Middle East course, the evidence that the President and the "senior officials" whom he trusts continue to be blindsided by major developments they didn't expect and haven't provided for: all of this tells us that our Middle East policy is in free fall.
The writer is professor of foreign affairs and humanities at Bard College and professor of American foreign policy at Yale University.
(American Interest)

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