Turkey’s rapprochement with Russia, along the increasingly dictatorial regime of President Erdogan, calls in question whether the anchor of NATO’s southern flank is an ally in name only. Losing Turkey would be only the latest catastrophe of President Obama’s failing foreign policy. So-called soft power, appeasement and serial apologies in the face of determined aggression have yielded an unbroken string of defeats. Obama’s betrayal of long-standing allies has ruptured traditional diplomatic ties and cast into doubt America’s reliability and value. Far from strengthening the New World Order embodied by such institutions as the United Nations, Obama’s policies have empowered regional strongmen and reinforced military might as the arbiter of international disputes.
The power vacuum created by Obama’s deliberate abandonment of the US position in Iraq allowed the majority Shiites to seize total control of the government, alienating the Sunnis and rekindling their Islamo-fascist tendencies in the form of ISIS, which then spread into Syria. Obama ignored calls to identify, train and equip Syrian moderates – admittedly a difficult task – until all had either been killed or driven into the arms of radicals willing to supply them.
Iran gained regional power status by dominating the Iraqi government, supporting Assad’s regime in Syria and humiliating the United States. The only functioning pro-American forces in the region – the Kurds – were effectively sidelined by Obama’s fear of angering Turkey. The Turks regard the Kurdish majority in the eastern third of their country in the same manner they used to regard their Armenian minority, before they killed all of them.
The civil war in Syria was not the result of ISIS, who merely took advantage of the chaos, but rather a revolt against the corrupt and sadistic Assad regime. Obama’s failure to take action after drawing a ‘red line’ over Syria’s use of chemical weapons was merely the latest in a series of feckless maneuvers that served to convince everyone in the region of America’s uselessness as an ally and cowardice as an enemy.
Obama had already betrayed Egyptian President Mubarak to the Islamic Brotherhood, and attacked Libya, with whom the Bush administration had formed a stable non-aggression pact in exchange for surrendering their WMD. Obama betrayed the 2009 popular uprising in Iran, so eager was he to green-light Iran’s nuclear weapons program – while paying ransom for American hostages – by signing a deal nearly equivalent to giving Nazi Germany the Bomb.
To be an ally of the United States in the Middle East was to invite disaster, as Obama sought to convince the Muslim world of America’s friendship by apologizing for his nation’s history, while embracing many of Islam’s most radical actors. In retrospect, the only surprise about Russia moving militarily into the region was that it did not happen sooner. Thanks to Obama’s lifting of sanctions on Iran, and paid for by $150 billion in unfrozen assets, Russia sold the SA-300 anti-missile and air defense system to Tehran.
Future administrations will have to choose between allowing Iran to go nuclear or suffering major losses in strike aircraft. Russia has deployed similar air defense systems to Syria in the past month in order to shield its ongoing slaughter of rebel forces (and civilians) from possible Western intervention. As you read this, the entirety of Russia’s northern fleet is surging across the Mediterranean towards Syria, presumably to help annihilate the two million besieged people of rebel-held Aleppo.
Turkey, nominally a NATO ally, took exception to Russia’s interference on their southern border and even shot down a Russian aircraft, before realizing the magnitude of their error. President Erdogan of Turkey went to St. Petersburg in October, hat in hand, to apologize and seek closer trade relations with Russia. Despite Obama’s attempts to curry favor with Erdogan, and excuse his Islamist reversal of Ataturk’s Western secularism legacy, Erdogan has used the pretext of a minor failed coup to imprison one hundred thousand Turks, and has recently signaled his desire to begin executing them.
While no doubt Obama has a measure of sympathy for those wanting to round up and shoot their domestic opponents, a descent to this level of barbarism would signal the end of Turkey’s NATO membership, and perhaps the beginning of an alliance with Moscow. Turkey’s apostatizing of NATO and the West would remove the southern pillar of the United States’ European defense strategy, and give a hostile Russia what it has sought since before the Crimean War of the 1850’s, a warm water port free to project power into the Eastern Mediterranean.
The level of disaster brought about by Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East is so utterly comprehensive as to beg the question: are these ongoing fiascos merely the result of incompetence or is some ulterior motive at play? We know that Obama rarely misses an opportunity to insult our British allies, strong arm Israel and bow to foreign potentates. One of his first acts in office was to reverse U.S. policy by refusing to move forward with advanced radar – the precursor to anti-ballistic missile systems – in Poland and the Czech Republic. Russia has repaid his forbearance this past month by installing nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad, a Russian outpost bordering Poland, which could hit Warsaw in two minutes.
In the final analysis, it matters little whether this community organizer, who came into office possessing neither experience nor ability, blundered about through ideological idiocy or prosecuted a deliberate campaign to ruin America’s standing in the world. The damage is done. No doubt our self-styled smart set will blame everything and everyone but their affirmative action idol; they will invent heroic narratives through which Obama strode, cleansed of original sin to redeem our immoral nation – through failure.
Pity the next president, assuming they even have a desire to clean up Obama’s mess.
The author has worked on numerous statewide political campaigns in Virginia, South Dakota and Washington, D.C. His work has appeared in The Federalist, the Daily Caller and other sites. He currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area. Follow him on Twitter @PHGuthrie