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Obama, the serial interventionist

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This is long, so here are highlights for the impatient:

  1. Obama's reliance on U.S. hard power has been underlined by his serial bombing campaigns in Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Syria ... a threefold increase in the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, sharply escalated drone attacks in Pakistan, and initiated “targeted killing” of even U.S. citizens with suspected ties to terrorism ... he has quietly pursued plans for an extensive expansion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
  2. Five repressive Arab autocracies form the core of coalition on Syria. Four of the five — Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates — plus the U.S., aided IS’s rise, either openly or inadvertently. This is a coalition of sinners now dressed as knights in shining armour.
  3. To justify his serial interventions and interminable war making, Mr. Obama has continued to speciously cite the congressional authority Mr. Bush secured to specifically go after those that “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
  4. The unpalatable truth that Mr. Obama seeks to obscure is that the main IS force was born in Syria out of the CIA-trained, petrodollar-funded rebels who were reared to help overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Mr. Obama turned a blind eye as IS made significant advances from mid-2013 onward.
  5. If President Ronald Reagan accidentally fathered al-Qaeda, Mr. Obama is IS’s unintended godfather turned self-declared slayer-in-chief.

  6. America’s long-standing alliance with the Gulf’s jihad-bankrolling Islamist monarchs does not augur well for its “war on terror,” which has spawned more militants than it has eliminated. With U.S. support, the oil monarchies, even the most tyrannical, have been able to ride out the Arab Spring. Paradoxically, the U.S. practice of propping up malleable Islamist rulers in the Middle East not just spurs strong anti-U.S. sentiment, but also fosters grassroots support for more independent and “authentically” Islamist forces.

  7. At a time when America faces a pressing need for comprehensive domestic renewal to arrest the erosion in its relative global power, it can ill-afford self-debilitating wars. Unfortunately for it, one eternal warrior in the White House was succeeded by another serial interventionist.

Obama, the serial interventionist

BRAHMA CHELLANEY

September 30, 2014

Barack Obama has been more at ease waging wars than in waging peace. He has proved to be one of America’s most militarily assertive Presidents since World War II

America’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate president, Barack Obama, who helped turn Libya into a failed state by toppling its ruler Muammar Qadhafi, has started a new war in Syria and Iraq even as the U.S. remains embroiled in the Afghanistan war. Mr. Obama’s air war in Syria — his presidency’s seventh military campaign in a Muslim nation and the one likely to consume his remaining term in office — raises troubling questions about its objectives and his own adherence to the rule of law.

While it has become imperative to contain the Islamic State (IS), a Sunni jihadist army that has imposed a despotic medieval order in the territories under its control, any fight against terrorism can be effectively waged only if it respects international law and reinforces global norms and does not become an instrument to pursue narrow, geopolitical interests.

Ever since America launched its “war on terror” in 2001 under Mr. Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, the scourge of international terrorism, ominously, has spread deeper and wider in the world. Jihadist forces extolling terror as a sanctified tool of religion have gained ground in a number of countries. Once stable nations such as Iraq, Syria and Libya have become anarchic, crumbling states and new hubs of transnational terrorism, even as the Afghanistan-Pakistan belt remains “ground zero” for the terrorist threat the world confronts.

War on U.S. terms

Mr. Obama was supposed to be fundamentally different than Mr. Bush — an expectation that led the Nobel committee to award him the Peace Prize soon after he assumed office. Yet, underscoring the disconnect between his words and actions, Mr. Obama has been more at ease waging wars — that too in breach of international law — than in waging peace. He has proved to be one of America’s most militarily assertive Presidents since World War II, with his readiness to use force driven by a penchant to act as judge and executioner.

Mr. Obama in Cairo in 2009 sought “a new beginning” between the U.S. and Muslims “based upon mutual interest and mutual respect.” However, his reliance on U.S. hard power has been underlined by his serial bombing campaigns in Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. He also directed a threefold increase in the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, sharply escalated drone attacks in Pakistan, and initiated “targeted killing” of even U.S. citizens with suspected ties to terrorism. And now comes the news that this warrior-in-chief, having championed “a nuclear-free world,” has quietly pursued plans for an extensive expansion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, already the world’s costliest and most-sophisticated.

Core of a coalition
What stopped Mr. Obama from seeking United Nations Security Council (UNSC) mandate before initiating a war in Syria against IS militants? The answer is obvious: Mr. Obama wants to wage his open-ended war on U.S. terms, like his earlier interventions.

Five repressive Arab autocracies form the core of his “coalition of the willing” on Syria. Paradoxically, four of the five — Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates — plus the U.S., aided IS’s rise, either openly or inadvertently. This is a coalition of sinners now dressed as knights in shining armour.

Such has been the tepid international response to what the White House admits will be a multiyear military offensive in the Syria-Iraq belt that only five of the 22 Arab states (or, to put it differently, five of the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation) have joined the coalition. And even though the U.S. is striking a terrorist group, its urge to test new weapons has led to the debut in war of the problem-plagued F-22 stealth bomber.

Mr. Obama displayed his disdain for international law by addressing the U.N. after presenting his bombing blitzkrieg in Syria as a fait accompli. To rationalise the unleashing of force in Syria by bypassing the U.N., his administration has meretriciously claimed the defence of a third country, Iraq, as a legal ground. Such a precedent could allow the sovereignty of any nation to be violated.

In reality, this is just the latest U.S. action mocking international law. Other such actions in the past 15 years include the bombing of Serbia, the separation of Kosovo from Serbia, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq without UNSC authority, Qadhafi’s overthrow, the aiding of an insurrection in Syria, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) renditions of terror suspects, and the National Security Agency’s Orwellian surveillance programme. Yet, Mr. Obama has escalated a sanctions campaign against Russia in the name of upholding international law.

Creating, fighting the problem
Indeed, he has not sought even U.S. congressional authorisation before embroiling his country in yet another war. To justify his serial interventions and interminable war making, Mr. Obama has continued to speciously cite the congressional authority Mr. Bush secured to specifically go after those that “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. But given that linking IS to the 9/11 attacks would stretch plausibility, especially since al-Qaeda has publicly disavowed IS, his administration started the Syria war by claiming an “imminent” threat to U.S. homeland security from a previously unknown “Al Qaeda affiliate,” Khorasan.

The unpalatable truth that Mr. Obama seeks to obscure is that the main IS force was born in Syria out of the CIA-trained, petrodollar-funded rebels who were reared to help overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Mr. Obama turned a blind eye as IS made significant advances from mid-2013 onward. IS militants ceased to be “good” terrorists undermining Mr. Assad’s rule and Iranian interests after they threatened U.S. interests and beheaded two American journalists.

If President Ronald Reagan accidentally fathered al-Qaeda, Mr. Obama is IS’s unintended godfather turned self-declared slayer-in-chief. Having earlier tasked the CIA with aiding Syrian rebels to help oust Mr. Assad, Mr. Obama has now tasked the agency to create a proxy ground force against IS in Syria by training and arming thousands of more insurgents.

...

As the longest war in its history in Afghanistan attests, the U.S. is better at starting wars than in ending them. What Mr. Obama has started as an offensive against IS is likely to evolve into something more geopolitical in nature, including to repair the damage to U.S. interests from America’s decade-long Iraq occupation, which made Iran the real winner.

More broadly, America’s long-standing alliance with the Gulf’s jihad-bankrolling Islamist monarchs does not augur well for its “war on terror,” which has spawned more militants than it has eliminated. With U.S. support, the oil monarchies, even the most tyrannical, have been able to ride out the Arab Spring. Paradoxically, the U.S. practice of propping up malleable Islamist rulers in the Middle East not just spurs strong anti-U.S. sentiment, but also fosters grassroots support for more independent and “authentically” Islamist forces.

A rolling, self-sustaining war targeting terrorist enemies that America’s own policies and interventions continue to spawn is not good news even for the U.S., whose military adventures since 2001 have cost $4.4 trillion, making its rich military contractors richer but destabilising security in several regions. At a time when America faces a pressing need for comprehensive domestic renewal to arrest the erosion in its relative global power, it can ill-afford self-debilitating wars. Unfortunately for it, one eternal warrior in the White House was succeeded by another serial interventionist.

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This is long, so here are highlights for the impatient:

  1. Obama's reliance on U.S. hard power has been underlined by his serial bombing campaigns in Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Syria ... a threefold increase in the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, sharply escalated drone attacks in Pakistan, and initiated “targeted killing” of even U.S. citizens with suspected ties to terrorism ... he has quietly pursued plans for an extensive expansion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
  2. Five repressive Arab autocracies form the core of coalition on Syria. Four of the five — Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates — plus the U.S., aided IS’s rise, either openly or inadvertently. This is a coalition of sinners now dressed as knights in shining armour.
  3. To justify his serial interventions and interminable war making, Mr. Obama has continued to speciously cite the congressional authority Mr. Bush secured to specifically go after those that “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
  4. The unpalatable truth that Mr. Obama seeks to obscure is that the main IS force was born in Syria out of the CIA-trained, petrodollar-funded rebels who were reared to help overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Mr. Obama turned a blind eye as IS made significant advances from mid-2013 onward.
  5. If President Ronald Reagan accidentally fathered al-Qaeda, Mr. Obama is IS’s unintended godfather turned self-declared slayer-in-chief.

  6. America’s long-standing alliance with the Gulf’s jihad-bankrolling Islamist monarchs does not augur well for its “war on terror,” which has spawned more militants than it has eliminated. With U.S. support, the oil monarchies, even the most tyrannical, have been able to ride out the Arab Spring. Paradoxically, the U.S. practice of propping up malleable Islamist rulers in the Middle East not just spurs strong anti-U.S. sentiment, but also fosters grassroots support for more independent and “authentically” Islamist forces.

  7. At a time when America faces a pressing need for comprehensive domestic renewal to arrest the erosion in its relative global power, it can ill-afford self-debilitating wars. Unfortunately for it, one eternal warrior in the White House was succeeded by another serial interventionist.

MYTH 2: ISIS WAS CREATED BY THE CIA

One of the more eyebrow-raising theories about ISIS is that it is a creation of U.S., British and/or Israeli intelligence agencies. New York Times reporter Thomas Erdbrink told HuffPost Live that the belief is common among Iranians. The theory was traced back to a dubious blog post that was picked up by Iranian and other Middle Eastern media. Conservative media got hold of it, using it as an example of a government conspiracy. Politifact bestowed the theory its "Pants on fire" rating.

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Yep; he's bombed seven countries since receiving his Nobel Peace Prize. The irony is lost on the lefties. :rolleyes:

Deniers deny The truth that their savior is a fraud hurts too much. It would be like trying to prove to fundies that Jesus is a myth

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Deniers deny The truth that their savior is a fraud hurts too much. It would be like trying to prove to fundies that Jesus is a myth

Who here idolises Obama in their posts? Seriously, you say this a lot but its a complete fantasy of wishful thinking on your part. Its like you are reading a totally different message board to everyone else.

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Deniers deny The truth that their savior is a fraud hurts too much. It would be like trying to prove to fundies that Jesus is a myth

You do realize you and the motley crew talk about Obama 10 times more than anyone here. If you guys hate him so much, why do you all feel the need to bring him up all the time? If I hated anyone, I wouldn't waste a breath or thought on that person. They're not worth my time or energy. I think you all secretly admire him, but you don't know how to express it. Hell, Marc likes him so much he has revived a thread that no one has posted in since June.

If you need to talk about it, I'm here for you. (F)


“Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” – Coretta Scott King

"Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge." -Toni Morrison

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

President-Obama-jpg.jpg

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You do realize you and the motley crew talk about Obama 10 times more than anyone here. If you guys hate him so much, why do you all feel the need to bring him up all the time? If I hated anyone, I wouldn't waste a breath or thought on that person. They're not worth my time or energy. I think you all secretly admire him, but you don't know how to express it. Hell, Marc likes him so much he has revived a thread that no one has posted in since June.

If you need to talk about it, I'm here for you. (F)

I would say the general feeling towards Obama is one of indifference, rather than as some sort of messianic figure as NB appears to believe.

He inherited a recession and hasn't made much of an impact either on the domestic or international stage, I don't think many people would have any issue with that conclusion. There's the healthcare reform of course, but even people who were in favour of reforms are probably of the opinion that he went for a compromise and that the changes weren't radical or sweeping enough. Then there's the whole Iraq and Syria debacle - could Obama have handled that any differently, I honestly have no idea, personally I think it's a no-win situation.

In any case, those are all reasonable criticisms.

Of course, we can see very which posters are willing to discuss those issues and which posters are obsessed with conspiracy theories like Benghazi, Obama's birth certificate and irrelevant tosh like the 'latte salute' and being outraged about the President bowing to foreign leaders.

Personally, I think we should start ignoring these people - since all they are trying to do is troll other posters and try to get a reaction out of people.

Edited by Hail Ming!

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You do realize you and the motley crew talk about Obama 10 times more than anyone here. If you guys hate him so much, why do you all feel the need to bring him up all the time? If I hated anyone, I wouldn't waste a breath or thought on that person. They're not worth my time or energy. I think you all secretly admire him, but you don't know how to express it. Hell, Marc likes him so much he has revived a thread that no one has posted in since June.

If you need to talk about it, I'm here for you. (F)

You're just too deep in denial, Marvin. :jest:

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You do realize you and the motley crew talk about Obama 10 times more than anyone here. If you guys hate him so much, why do you all feel the need to bring him up all the time? If I hated anyone, I wouldn't waste a breath or thought on that person. They're not worth my time or energy. I think you all secretly admire him, but you don't know how to express it. Hell, Marc likes him so much he has revived a thread that no one has posted in since June.

If you need to talk about it, I'm here for you. (F)

I am so touched. Your one of my hero's so to speak.

I am having 3rd world internet issues tonight. Slower than 1200 baud dial up

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I would say the general feeling towards Obama is one of indifference, rather than as some sort of messianic figure as NB appears to believe.

He inherited a recession and hasn't made much of an impact either on the domestic or international stage, I don't think many people would have any issue with that conclusion. There's the healthcare reform of course, but even people who were in favour of reforms are probably of the opinion that he went for a compromise and that the changes weren't radical or sweeping enough. Then there's the whole Iraq and Syria debacle - could Obama have handled that any differently, I honestly have no idea, personally I think it's a no-win situation.

In any case, those are all reasonable criticisms.

Of course, we can see very which posters are willing to discuss those issues and which posters are obsessed with conspiracy theories like Benghazi, Obama's birth certificate and irrelevant tosh like the 'latte salute' and being outraged about the President bowing to foreign leaders.

Personally, I think we should start ignoring these people - since all they are trying to do is troll other posters and try to get a reaction out of people.

And it's those criticisms should be addressed in a logical manner, instead of talking about his birth certificate or the latte salute.

You're just too deep in denial, Marvin. :jest:

I've save you a seat.


“Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” – Coretta Scott King

"Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge." -Toni Morrison

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

President-Obama-jpg.jpg

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he did promise change ;)

That seems to be the general idea, convince enough people that their vote counts for nothing and not to bother turning up to vote at election time. Won't work long term, as Lincoln once said, you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

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