Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has described the Obama administration’s policy in the Middle East as one of “willful ignorance”, and it is hard to disagree with that assessment. In fact, it can be mind-boggling to watch as this incoherent strategy unfolds on a daily basis. But as difficult as it is for a rational observer to understand, I believe that the strategy is more willful than ignorant. I believe that Obama knows exactly what he is doing and what are the likely outcomes.
First, Obama’s worldview is one that does not include an exceptional America as the indispensable world power and he does not believe that this power, particularly when backed by our military, is a force for good in the world. This view is supported by almost every foreign policy initiative that he has pursued, the main thrust of which has been “withdrawal”.
Further, he is clearly an anti-colonialist and believes that the role of the Western powers in history has been the primary cause of most of the geopolitical problems we now face. Closely connected to this view, when it comes to Israel, it has become increasingly clear that he is an anti-Zionist, believing that the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the State of Israel has been a mistake.
These observations are obviously open to debate, and I would welcome it, but I have watched him pretty closely for six years and have confidence in these views. So what does this mean for his Middle East policy?
Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, has written an insightful analysis leading to the conclusion that President Obama’s objective in the Middle East is nothing less than the most fundamental realignment of U. S. foreign policy in a generation, one that will result in the establishment of his new doctrine: Downgrade U. S. ties to Israel and Saudi Arabia while allowing our new friend Iran to fill the vacuum left by U. S. retreat.
The evidence he offers is compelling and I agree with his assessment. When the dots are connected as Boot has done, it’s clear that this objective has been in evidence almost since the day Obama took office. The crowning achievement for his legacy will be the nuclear arms agreement with Iran, which will open the door for an arms race in the region and direct conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Shiite and Sunni, for regional dominance, with the U. S. as a bystander. There is plenty of stupidity here, but not much ignorance, and it is almost completely willful.
And if this scenario doesn’t get the attention of Congress on both sides of the aisle, they are willfully blind. There is no reason to continue to parse language and litigate the details of this pending nuclear agreement “framework” with a totally untrustworthy regime; this is a bad deal and it should be killed–now.