Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Obama: Don't Play Chess with the KGB

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Obama: Don't Play Chess with the KGB

Article excerpt

President Barack Obama foolishly backed himself into a corner during the growing Syrian crisis by issuing fatwas about mythological red lines. When his bluffgot called, the silver-tongued president was lefttwisting in the wind.

Obama's Nobel Peace Prize should be rescinded and given, instead, to Vladimir Putin.

Add a warning to Obama's amateur foreign policy advisers: "Don't play chess with the KGB!"

In fact, Obama, who rudely snubbed former KGB agent Putin recently, owes Russia's leader a "Bolshi Spaseba" (big thanks) for pulling his bacon out of the fire in Syria. Putin brilliantly demonstrated to the world the difference between diplomacy and force, the rapier versus the cudgel.

The American cynic Ambrose Bierce aptly defined a diplomat as "a patriot ready to lie for his country."

True enough, but diplomacy is the essential lubricant of international relations. Ever since the Bush administration, America's foreign relations have become militarized and run by the Pentagon while the State Department has been eclipsed. America has become addicted to small wars and debt.

The frequent threats and bombast by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton-i.e., to "vaporizing Iran" if it dared attack Israel-have been seamlessly continued by John Kerry's fulminations against Syria. Clinton and Kerry both have 2016 presidential ambitions and are playing to key potential donors.

It is also painful and disturbing watching Obama and Kerry deliver impassioned orations about poor little Syrian babies gassed by the wicked Bashar al-Assad, a former eye specialist who would probably prefer to be living in London.

What about all those babies killed in Afghanistan and Iraq? What about those killer drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia?

Vietnam anyone? Nagasaki?

Enough, please, with the synthetic moral outrage over Syrian babies or ludicrous claims Syria was threatening the U.S. Remember the phony Kuwaiti babies dreamed up by a Washington PR agency? Egypt's U.S.-armed and -financed army just shot down over 1,500 civilian protesters.

Americans are rightly fed up with past crusades and increasingly disillusioned by President Obama and the tame U.S. media. His indecisiveness and lack of a clear strategy have made him singularly unpopular. Nor is there any clamor for war against Syria in Britain and France, whose governments are trying to divert attention from economic woes by bashing the Syrians. …

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