Saturday, February 7, 2015


Yesterday was supposed to be the pre-Valentine foreign policy's magnum opus day, but it was overshadowed by the President's prayer breakfast slips of the tongue. In one presentation he managed to collide with Christians, Indians and Chinese...Il faut le faire.  The National Security advisor is not popular.  Her spotty reputation in the UN sticks despite her new responsibility and the President's favor.  Instead of presenting an overview of a strategy she served a Spanish omelet. One can throw anything in it and serve it without further explanation.

Dr. Rice claims to recognize the complexities of the diverse situations which the United States has to deal with or confront. She seems, nevertheless, unwilling to call problems by their name or to project a vision which is able to connect the dots. The differences between various upheavals are real but there is also a causal aspect which is neglected. Flash points also stem from a perception that America is reluctant to lead or to activate its given superiority. The world expects a commitment, as was the case in former days, but only receives a patronizing message where arrogance, unfamiliarity with history and self-loathing prevail. This is strange since Dr. Rice has the usual Oxford/Stanford credentials.

This high-octane IQ administration is not willing to translate its claim to "exceptionalism" into deeds.  It is perceived as not trustworthy and colorblind (remember the red line?)   It is certainly correct to pursue diplomacy and to avoid armed intervention, but dangerous to let the adversary peek into a weak hand!  Washington has to lead and call all parties to order. One side of the world is dissolving, another part is being forced to regroup.  By not owning the divergent flows of energy, the United States let non-actors and proxies from Ukraine to the Middle East and Central Africa "steal" borders and agreements from under their nose. Fragmentation and reconstitution is becoming a fait accompli which remains strangely unsanctioned.

Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande in the Kremlin looked more ill at ease than the culprit.  Obama should have been in the lair of the enemy!  The United States has been negotiating for years with Iran over a nuclear "face lift", nothing more. We know what is said in Tehran is worse than what is said in Moscow.  So, what is the President afraid of?
Likewise, in the Syria/Iraq/ISIL conundrum the reality obliges the West to sort out the evils which occupy the terrain. Fighting the worst might need the support of the less-desirable (which is happening de facto to a certain degree).  All this melange is the result of the inability to come out into the open and to replace a phantom "coalition" of 60 ("bandits" included) by a comprehensive force of the willing, with agreed upon rules of engagement.

Just as Dr. Rice missed her Benghazi prime-time, she has now forsaken the opportunity to present a State of the World-view. Instead, the cascade of political misreadings remains unattended, which makes America look "dispensable." In saying that, unlike former situations, the current threats are not existential, Dr. Rice shows that the Existentialists are not her reading material and that she prefers not to share the burden of today's seasons in hell. After all...L'enfer c'est les autres.

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