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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Obama Statesmanship: an oxymoron

By Sam Huntington

No one I know believes that statecraft is as easy as a walk in the park, but I do think that the United States of America has made it far more difficult than necessary. We should begin with our understanding that foreign relations are an interdisciplinary art and science. It involves a knowledge base in international law and policy, trade, history, culture, environment, and human rights. In the realm of diplomacy, I think there only two kinds of states: those that do negotiation well, and those that do not. It may be entirely fair to say that Thucydides would not be much impressed with Obama’s state department. I think this is true even if we ignore Obama’s initial apology tour in 2009, his speech in Cairo, and the disaster that we now refer to as the Arab Spring.

More recently, Prince Bandar bin Sultan (Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief) informed European diplomats that the kingdom will make a major shift in relations with the United States due to the incompetence and untrustworthiness of the Obama administration. Key to this turn of events is the manner in which Obama handled Syria, and his recent overtures to Iran. Not once did the Obama administration consult with its Middle Eastern partners before announcing a US policy shift. According to one Saudi source, “The kingdom does not want to find itself any longer in a situation where it is dependent on the United States.”

What this shift may suggest is a transition away from the US as a military defense partner to other possibilities. At the present time, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia spends 9.1% of its gross domestic product on defense, ranked fifth in the world in military spending. If the Saudis are not spending their money on F-15Es, to whom will they turn? There is already a robust spending program with European aerospace companies (British, Italian, and Pan-European), so it would not appear beyond the pale to imagine that they could also begin purchasing other weapon systems from the Europeans, as well.

Should I mention the impact on the cost of oil? Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of oil and invests much of its earnings into US assets. Most of the Saudi central bank’s net foreign assets of $690 billion are thought denominated in US dollars, and in US treasury bonds.

Needless to say, a Saudi shift away from the United States is a major one—one that we should anticipate will have enormous consequences. Prince Bandar claims that in his view, Washington has failed to act effectively on the Syrian crisis and in matters involving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The United States has had good diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Saud since 1932, but Prince bin Sultan says that Obama has negated this relationship in order to pursue a closer relationship with Tehran.

Note: the relationship between Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been strained since the collapse of the Shah of Iran in 1979. In the post-Islamic Revolution period, Iran has adopted a neo-Marxist view of Islamic socialism, denouncing the monarchy of Saudi Arabia as an anachronism having no place in Islam. The Iranians must define caliphate differently than the rest of us. Moreover, the Iranians have long regarded Saudi Arabia as a agent of US policy in the Persian Gulf, which is undeniably true. Thus, it would appear as though the Saudis do not believe they are being properly rewarded for the loyalty to the United States.

The fact is that Barack Obama has a very long history of tossing friends and allies under the bus, so to speak. Obama’s shift away from the Saudis toward Iran no doubt reflects his pro-Marxist tendencies and the advice he routinely receives from his Moslem Brotherhood lackeys. For their part, the Saudis aren’t having any of it. I have little doubt that the Israelis are shaking their heads and muttering, “We told you so.”

Not only are the Saudis irritated with Barack Obama, they are also not interested in a second year term on the UN’s coveted security council. The Saudis must have finally gotten around to reading the Global Communist Charter.

Now we may begin to understand the complexities of good statecraft, and realize how Barack Obama’s incompetence has placed the security of the United States in grave danger —perhaps even more than during the Cold War. Saudi Arabia backs Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s mostly Sunni rebel forces. Al-Assad, however, is derived from the Shi’ a sect of Islam, and therefore has the backing of Iran, Lebanon (Hezbollah). Al-Assad claims that the Sunni groups include Al-Qaeda, the Saudis deny any such relationship. No one in Washington DC understands the difference.

Now might be a good time to ask, which side of this tiff will Bahrain align itself, and how will the US maintain security of the Strait of Hormuz if the US Navy is asked to vacate its base in Bahrain? No one in Washington DC knows where the Strait of Hormuz is located.

And then finally, we have to note that this the likely result of a situation in which the American people, not understanding one-tenth of what they learned in high school world history, voted for a man who understands even less about being an effective chief executive.


  1. Obama has serious issues. A man who cannot even admit that he lied to the American people should enjoy no trust among heads of state. Obama foreign policy is exactly what we should expect. Obama policy at home is also what we should expect. What morons we are if this is the best and brightest leadership for our country.

  2. I think we must ask ourselves:

    • What kind of people elects someone who is under-qualified for arguably the most important job on the entire planet?

    • What kind of people elects someone to high office because of the color of his skin?

    • What kind of people happily send their sons and daughters off to die in a foreign land knowing that the men who send them to their deaths would never, ever, place their own miserable bodies in harm’s way?

    • What kind of people, having elected an utter moron to the presidency, expects anything substantial from them—other than more of the same old substandard performance?

    And now, of course, we hear everyone saying what a GREAT president Hillary Rodham Clinton will be. Ye gods …

  3. Obama has the unique distinction of not only being a pathological liar but a pathological liar about his lies, liar !

  4. Ah, Barack Obama, the first American president to lie to the people. I would have guessed Washington but that's just me.

    So here we are trying to gain some kind of rapprochement with Iran and as a result the Saudis get a little miffed.

    We come close to finally calling the settlements illegal and Nuttyyahoo and the End Timers start acting stupid (and talk about electing a moron).

    Just part of the Grand Game.

  5. M. Mustang, the answer is weak people. But you know this already, I think.

  6. Mustang,

    You are sadly, quite right. The same expanding bunch of low information/ambition voters who put our present clown in office are poised to elect the hag. I wonder if "stay at home" and 3rd Party voters will help them complete the circuit?

  7. The head for this article would have worked if you had dropped the 'oxy' out of it, too, Sam.

    @ JB -- I never thought I'd say it, but it may be time for a 3rd Party. It ain't like the good ol' days, anymore -- I'm not seeing much difference between the GOP and the Socioneonazicrats.

  8. I only voted for a 3rd party once and it got me Clinton. I don't want another one! Maybe it's time for something even more radical. How about The Red States Of America?

  9. Well, Americans elected (twice) an Alinsky trained community organizer for president. We shouldn't be surprised that he is inept at anything else.

  10. I'm struck by how shortsighted the fringe right on this board are.

    Lately we've seen a reduction in Syria's chemical weapon stockpile.

    We are talking with Iran.

    Rwanda was made to stand down in Congo (I doubt the low information fringe right is aware of that).

    There are clear successes and some setbacks. Frankly, it may be a more successful path to keeping the lid on in the Middle East than fellating Bandar Bush and Nuttyyahoo but that's just me. Surely the fringe right knows best (LOL).

    1. Duck,
      We are talking with Iran.

      Apparently, it's more than talk. I read somewhere today that Obama lifted many of the sanctions on Iran shortly after he took office. Secretly lifted those sanctions.

    2. Is that necessarily bad, AOW?

      Quite possibly the change in leadership in Iran presents an opportunity?

    3. It's probably bad. We should know within a few months whether or not the change in leadership amounted to any difference.

  11. Almost certainly, the fact that the Obama administration has secretly lifted the sanctions on Iran is a bad thing. Considering the fact that the Iranians are known to lie about their intentions, I can't decide if Obama's decision is one of a naive man or someone who is willfully trying to help Iran to the place of nuclear capability.

    1. LD Jackson,
      This, dated November 9, 2013, might interest you:

      Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined that any final deal should be agreed upon by all the seven sides (Iran, the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) participating in Geneva talks, and said that Tehran under no condition will accept plans written by others, Fars News reported.

      "We do not accept anyone to write a plan for us (to obey)," Zarif said prior to attending a trilateral meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Saturday....


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