We certainly haven’t done very well for ourselves or our friends there since then.
Thanks to a dysfunctional political system, we ended up with two of the worst presidents in American history, one incompetent and the other — how else can I put it? — anti-American.
It took us almost ten years to kill the seventh-century fanatic that murdered 3000 Americans. We engaged in an extended, expensive and mostly unnecessary conflict in Iraq, while Iran was allowed to develop nuclear weapons. We sent our troops to risk their lives for undefined objectives. We helped our enemies like Erdoğan, the Muslim Brotherhood and the PLO, and hurt our allies, like Israel. We totally misread the so-called “Arab Spring.”
We did not support the Iranian opposition when young people were shot down in the streets in 2009-10. We took the side of Turkey in the Mavi Marmara incident of 2010, forcing Israel to end its economic warfare against Hamas. We helped depose Mubarak and then supported the radical Muslim Brotherhood as his replacement. We have forced Israel into a destructive ‘peace process’ and encouraged the PLO’s unrealistic demands.
But for sheer bumbling, nothing matches our response to Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons. President Obama threatened to take action, explained in excruciating detail the “unbelievably small” attack that he planned, which would nevertheless not be a “pinprick,” delayed for several weeks while waiting for Congress to advise him (although as of yesterday he “hadn’t decided” if he would take its advice). Finally, he handed off the initiative to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, probably guaranteeing that Assad will stay in power.
“Big deal,” you say. “Syria will continue to be a mess and we won’t get stuck in it.” Not exactly. Actions have consequences. Putin now understands that the US will not interfere with anything he wants to do in the Middle East, including build an alliance with our greatest enemies:
Russia will supply Iran with a modified version of the vaunted S-300 anti-aircraft system as well as build a new nuclear reactor for the Ayatollah’s regime, the Russian daily Kommersant business newspaper reported Wednesday.
The report comes hot on the heels of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s diplomatic proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles under international supervision and thus avoid a U.S. strike on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces. Kommersant reported that the deal between Moscow and Tehran was formulated as part of Russia and Iran’s “commonality of views on the situation in Syria.”
The S-300 is considered a game-changer, which will make any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities much more difficult. Israel and the US had pressured Putin to hold off on delivering the system. Now he is sending Iran a system that will be “even better than the ones Iran originally bought.” The only bright side of this is that it may accelerate the timetable of an Israeli strike — we certainly can’t expect Obama to do it!
We can also assume that Obama’s weakness will encourage Iran. I have argued before that nothing less than a credible threat of force could induce Iran to abandon its nuclear program. But if Obama is not prepared to take a much less serious action against the far less dangerous Assad regime, what can we expect toward Iran?
Iran will not give up “one iota” of its nuclear rights, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani said in a speech to clerics, the Iranian Mehr news agency reported on Tuesday.
Rouhani’s comments were made as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton prepared to meet in New York later this month to discuss Tehran’s nuclear program. …
While the West considers Rouhani to be moderate, his recent statements on Iran’s nuclear program have caused concern, as the rhetoric is similar to that of his predecessor in office, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The US is steaming full speed out of the Middle East. The Syria debacle will likely be noted by future historians as the point at which the US decided that it would no longer try to influence matters there, and when the Russians seized the opportunity to take the reins.