Thursday, May 21, 2015

Robert Parry — Obama’s Strategic Shift

President Obama has belatedly detected the looming catastrophe in Syria and Iraq as Sunni terrorists gain ground. He also grasps the need for Russian and Iranian help. But his administration remains infested with neocons and liberal war hawks who could sabotage the needed deals, reports Robert Parry.
This is a significant problem, and it is not just neocons embedded in the administration and bureaucracy. It is compounded by the proclivity of the deep state, especially the CIA, to use "all available resources" to further the aims of the US as it assumes these interests to be — as in the enemy of our enemy is our friend.

There seems to be reason to suspect that some US agents are using ISIS to further US aims in a way similar to the US arming and advising the Islamists in Afghanistan that were opposing the Russian occupation. If so, the potential for blowback is at least as great.

This gets into geopolitics and geo-strategy where power and economics are joined at the hip in the Great Game for control of territory, including sea and air, and natural resources especially energy.

This is going on not only in MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) but also in Central Asia and the Balkans, as well as Africa. The result is increasing global instability.

Consortium News
Obama’s Strategic Shift
Robert Parry

Two weeks ago, Electronic Intifada reported public comments by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon in which he cited Hiroshima and Nagasaki as role models in responding to Iran. Ya’alon suggested that Israel might have to nuke Iran in order to prevent a long war: “at the end, we might take certain steps.” Last week Ali Gharib picked up the EI report at Lobelog and linked to the video of Ya’alon, speaking in English on May 5 to the Israel Law Center (and posted by that rightwing group, which supplied a transcript).
US press blacks out Israeli defense minister’s citation of ‘Nagasaki and Hiroshima’ as model for dealing with Iran
Philip Weiss


John said...

Remember all the fuss about the Israeli deputy defence minister who threatened Palestinians with a "holocaust".

No, of course not. And needless to say no fuss would have been made either had it been the other way around.

Israel threatening one of its neighbours with nuclear obliteration will barely be registered. Had Iran said something similar, then we'd never hear the end of it. We never hear the end of that throwaway line about Israel being "wiped off the map". Which merely meant that Israel would eventually go the way of apartheid South Africa, the Soviet Union, and any number of repressive countries swept away by the modern world.

This kind of mad neocon-Likud rhetoric is everyday fare, but almost never reported in the western media.

As for Obama, running an empire is tricky stuff, especially the one handed to him by the incompetent and sadistic cartoon characters from the Bush administration. He has to make strategic choices, e.g. Iran or Russia. If he could, he'd go after both, but it looks like he's overruling the more extreme neocons in his administration by targeting Russia and leaving Iran for another day.

Tom Hickey said...

On the other hand, there are arguments that Obama is realizing that he needs Russia and Iran geopolitically and geostrategically, so explains the recent nuclear deal with Iran against neocon and war hawk wishes, as well as modifying the US stand in Kerry's meeting with Putin and Lavrov in Sochi.

The crazy and contradictory neocon drive to impose Angl-American liberalism at the point of bayonet is not working.

John said...

The Kerry meeting is interesting. Was he trying for a diplomatic face-saving climbdown, suddenly aware that neocon Washington has badly miscalculated and backed itself into a horrible corner, or a case of threatening further sanctions and who knows what else if Russia doesn't vacate Crimea and allow further Nato expansion, an impossible demand. From what I can gather, Putin is the restraining moderate in the Kremlin, and if he gives in to Washington's demands then he's finished, which may be why Washington is pushing so hard.

Either way, someone is going to end up looking like a foreign policy incompetent, even more incompetent than Victoria Nuland and Samantha Power, if that's possible.

The only serious geopolitical reason for a deal with Russia is to breakup the alliances China is forging, which is encroaching on Washington's turf. It seems, the "pivot to Asia" isn't working out as hoped. Whatever Washington conjures up, China has a reply, whether it's the new development bank, deals bypassing the dollar, the increasing power of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, China's influence in Africa, all over Southeast Asia, South America, etc.

If the neocons weren't so maniacal, they'd be an asset to anti-imperialists the world over! They're incompetence is really something. Everything they touch turns to sh*t. George Kennan must be turning in his grave.

Tom Hickey said...

The foreign policy geniuses need to realize that America's power lies in its soft power and it is pissing it away. An empire based on projecting hard power is neither sustainable long term nor effective short terms. It inevitably prompts a reaction.

US soft power is based on liberalism, but liberalism is a tricky thing because has may paradoxes and it is not simple to harmonize social, political and economic liberalism into a framework adaptable in many different cultural and institutional contexts, which is required for liberal globalization.

Above all liberalism cannot be imposed. It must be adopted voluntarily and implemented jaw the will of those that live under it by choice. Otherwise, it is illiberalism.

The US is caught between its desire to impose its won version of liberalism on the world, like it or not, and it's desire to push what it sees as its geopolitical and geostrategic interests. The result is hypocrisy that is undermining US soft power and forcing the reliance on hard power. Moreover, the Washington hawks only think in terms of hard power.

In other words, the US needs to start selecting states people rather than shills for global domination by an oligarchy of wealth, confusing neoliberalism with actual liberalism when it is form of fascism and tends toward totalitarianism.

The US ship of state is dangerously off course.