Thursday, May 26, 2016

Obama Projects his Foreign Policy Failures on to Trump

This guy. The quote from the Atlantic is this:

[World leaders are] rattled by [Trump] and for good reason. Because a lot of the proposals that he’s made display either ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude or an interest in getting tweets and headlines instead of actually thinking through what is required to keep America safe.

So Obama is going lecture Trump about world affairs. About ignorance, a cavalier attitude, and keeping Americans safe. Holy fucking projection Batman. Let's talk about his own world affairs for a moment.

Candidate Obama ran on the promise that he would reign in and reverse the Bush doctrine. Bush's most significant world actions were the overthrow of two foreign governments. One for some plausible rationale that most people still agree to, and one based on falsified intel; an invasion that most people today believe was a colossal mistake. This was the foreign policy Obama promised to overturn, and for that promise he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in his first few months in office.

In reality, Obama's foreign policy has been quite similar to Bush's, except that it has been much worse. Like Bush, Obama's most significant actions have been the overthrow (or attempted overthrow) of two foreign governments. Let's look at each.

Libya, like Iraq, was sold by blatantly lying to the America people. We were told that we needed to overthrow Gadaffi because he was a brutal dictator and it was required to prevent mass genocide. That claim was utterly nonsense for 3 reasons.

  1. Gaddafi was beloved by his people. He shared the oil wealth of the nation generously and they enjoyed the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy in Africa.
  2. Even if he did commit human rights violations against his own people, so does staunch US ally Saudi Arabia. Even if the claims weren't completely false, they'd certainly be disingenuous.
  3. Genocide did occur. It happened against black Africans by the Islamic rebels the US was arming and supporting. 

The real reasons for invading were more or less understood by a group of people on the internet generally referred to as conspiracy theorists. Those theories were later substantiated by an email exchange between then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her informal advisor Sydney Blumenthal that was hacked by the Romanian hacker Guccifer. In reality Gaddafi's sins were the ambition to create a pan-North African economic zone, which garnered the ire of the old imperialists in Europe, in particular the French.

Not only did Obama continue the Bush doctrine of preemptively invading countries for made-up reasons, but he actually did a worse job of it. At least Bush used US ground forces to provide some level of stability and to prop up democratic governments. Instead in the Libyan coup the US provided air supremacy, but outsourced the legwork by arming and advising rebel groups. This left a vacuum filled by nice people like ISIS, and led to the types of genocide that the US said it was preventing. Not only is Libya a complete disaster itself, but it has become a staging ground for migrants from Africa to Europe, who are currently arriving in Italy at a rate of over 1000 per day. This migration is destroying Europe. It is conjecture to say so now, but I guarantee this migration will lead to civil war in Europe (the EU does not seem willing to dissolve peacefully). Libya was probably the greatest disaster of military interventionism in all of US history. The exact type of disaster that Candidate Obama promised would not happen.

Then there was Syria. Like Gaddafi, it was claimed that Assad must be overthrown because of the risked he posed to his own people. And like Gaddafi, there were actually hidden geo-political reasons behind this decision. (Assad rejected a proposal to build a gas pipeline through his country that would have connected the gulf states with Europe, because it would damage the interests of his ally Russia). Assad had a history of rejecting demands of western powers.

 The major difference between the Syrian invasion, and those of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, was that Syria was a failed attempt. First, the Obama-Kerry diplomatic dream team failed to muster enough support for an outright invasion. So the US reverted to the Libya model of aiding rebel groups and isolating Assad politically. But, this effort was outmaneuvered both militarily and diplomatically by Putin. The reason Obama has fewer overthrown foreign governments than Bush is not because of benevolence, but for incompetence.

Despite not achieving the goal of overthrowing another world leader who rejected western hegemony, the world was still able to enjoy most of the downsides. The power vacuum left by weakened governments in Syria and Iraq led to the rise of ISIS, the Islamic state that is defined by it's brutality. Like Libya, the Syrian actions opened the floodgates of refugees to Europe (and now America). This refugee crisis, troubling on it's own, has been multiplied TEN TIMES because it has given an excuse for all economic migrants to Europe from Africa, the Middle East, and central Asia. Literally ten times at least: 90% of the migrants don't come from Syria, and almost all of those that do come from Syria are able-bodied young men with enough cash to pay smugglers, not the destitute women and orphans Obama talks about, who are mostly in refugee camps in Turkey and Jordan. This stream of mostly Muslim migrants has directly led to an explosion of crime in Europe, the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels (more to come this summer no doubt), and, in a true display of Obama's utter incompetence, the sharp reactionary rise of populist nationalism and right-wing political parties in Europe and America.

For Obama to accuse Trump of "ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude" or implying that he will fail to keep Americans safe, is just lunacy. It doesn't even matter if it's correct or not. President Obama simply has zero legitimacy to make those claims. Despite his promises, he has without doubt administered the greatest failure of US foreign policy of any US president in history. Even if Trump was bad, he could never be Obama bad. Whatever Obama tries to do has the opposite effect of his intentions. And whatever he says is normally the opposite of what is true. The more Obama says Trump will be a terrible president, the more you can be sure he will be an excellent one.

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