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Days Of Future Past, Part II

Earlier today, I got the jump on everyone (I hope) and talked about the first ten months or so of the Obama administration's domestic agenda. Considering that it's hardly been much of an "Obama" agenda and more of a "Reid-Pelosi" agenda, I still managed to wring over 1,000 words on it. And now that I'm looking at foreign policy, I find myself wondering if I'll have to split this one into parts, too.

It was on the world stage that President Obama really concentrated his efforts. Flush with his promise to "restore America's reputation and prestige" in the community of nations, he dove in to the adoring arms of the global community. Obama -- especially after his speech at the United Nations -- had a higher approval rating than any other world leader in history.

As bright as his honeymoon was, though, it was also among the briefest. The brightest of flames, they say, burn out the quickest.

The ugliest developments, of course, were in the Middle East. In retrospect, the meetings between Obama administration officials and Moqtada Al-Sadr in Iraq were a very bad idea -- as I and a lot of other said at the time. Sadr used the credibility that gave him and the backing of Iran to leverage his power and make himself once again a major force in Iraqi politics. Indeed, many lay at his feet the sudden demands that the US reduce its forces and set a firm timetable for complete withdrawal. And some of us are convinced he is behind the resurgence in attacks on US forces that has undone so much of the progress achieved in the past few years.

With Israel, things haven't been as bad as I feared, But they certainly haven't been good. Obama's insistence on a "fresh start" is simply a reaffirmation of the Palestinian strategy: start a wave of terrorism, set it aside for peace talks, demand Israel make some "good faith" gestures and conessions, come up with a grand agreement, have Israel make the first moves, then hem and haw and argue how the Palestinians can't keep the promises made, insist Israel continue with its promises, and when the Israelis get impatient go back to step one with a new wave of terrorism. The key is that the concessions and good faith gestures Israel made are then used as the new base point for the new negotiations.

With Obama's "fresh start," all those are now locked in stone, and Israel finds itself having given up much over the years with nothing to show for it, and unable to make commensurate demands on the Palestinians. Further, with Obama willing to use more clear threats of sanctions and withholding arms and hinting that the US might not come to Israel's defense, they are backed into a corner that's starting to look very much like 1973 all over again.

I'm also worried about China. They've been even more belligerent than usual towards Taiwan, and all the "Free Tibet" folks who were so excited about Obama have been very, very disappointed at how tepidly he's reacted to their aggressions.

The return of high oil prices and consequent resurgence in power of OPEC is more, I think, partly due to Obama's domestic energy policies. The reinstatement of the offshore oil drilling ban, coupled with the lockdown on any drilling in ANWR and further energy development in Alaska (which I am convinced is a bit of political payback for Governor Palin) has increased our dependence and consumption of foreign oil. The raising of fuel economy standards caused even more hardships for the auto industry (remember Chrysler? It was a sad day for a lot of people when they shut their doors), and the implementation of the Kyoto Accords by executive order put a similar hurting on the electric utilities. With alternatives blocked (Greenpeace stopping nuclear expansion, Ted Kennedy and the like choking back wind, and the Sierra Club fighting hydroelectric), suddenly oil became the most readily-accessible energy source -- and foreign oil far more available than domestic. Indeed, I've seen some arguments that directly tie the Obama energy program to the rise of Hugh Chavez' Venezuela as a regional superpower and the fall of the Colombian government.

And then there's Russia. The "return" of several former Soviet Republics to a tighter affiliation with Russia is the beginnings of the return of the Soviet Empire in all but name. With the Ukraine and Belarus still independent in name only, the Baltics making nervous concessions, and "the 'Stans" suddenly discovering and rooting out "Islamic terrorists," I don't think I'm too much of an alarmist in saying that this does NOT bode well.

I had had high hopes for NATO with Obama's election, considering how popular he was in Europe. But the great alliance that kept the Soviet Union in check for decades is now all but defunct. Several of the Western nations that were mainstays of NATO for those years have cut their commitments to the bare minimum (and some even below that, as if daring others to call them on it), and the Eastern European nations -- those former Warsaw Bloc slave states -- who had clamored for admission now find themselves wondering what the big deal was about. They were all set to be our staunchest allies -- after all, they felt that they owed much of their freedom to NATO and the US, and no one better knows the horrors of totatlitarianism than its former victims -- but now they are turning more towards each other for protection, and wondering if they can appease their way to safety before Russia.

Obama's single greatest achievement in foreign policy, though, also led directly to the greatest danger we now face. It was a happy day when US Special Forces found Osama Bin Laden's grave in Pakistan, but the incursion into that nation led to the fall of the government to Islamic radicals. But instead of a Taliban-style government taking control, we have a chaotic mess of a nation with factions squabbling for power.

And in all the mess, Pakistan's nuclear arsenal up and disappeared. Our forces managed to seize a dozen warheads during the chaos, and at least one of them was most likely responsible for that explosion in the Pacific last September, but that leaves at least two to three dozen more nucleaar weapons unaccounted for somewhere in the world. And we still don't know what ship that bomb was on when it went off north of the Marianas Islands, let alone who was in control of it or where it was heading. We dodged one bullet there, but I'm really, really worried...

I hate to say it, but the world is a much, much scarier place than it was a year ago.


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Comments (29)

I hate to say it, ... (Below threshold)
jp2:
I hate to say it, but the world is a much, much scarier place than it was a year ago.

Wow! The first accurate foreign policy statement you have ever made.

Is there some kind of wingnut blogger record for the number of anti-Obama pieces? You have to be close to it.

JP, there might be, but it ... (Below threshold)
engineer:

JP, there might be, but it will never reach the number of Palin Wardrobe pieces on Blue.

Nicely done. JTLet m... (Below threshold)
MPR:

Nicely done. JT
Let me add to the picture in your crystal ball. India will not stand for a scenario like that playing out in Pakistan. If they feel that the military in Pakistan is out of control they may be tempted to attack preemptively to send a message to radical Islamists countries in the area including Iran. India's balance in the area has been carefully cultivated by the US. And they may not see a weaker US in the area as a good partner able to hold up it's end of the bargain.

There has still been no com... (Below threshold)
hermie:

There has still been no comment by the Obama Administration regarding the accounts of the Chicago unit of the national civilian 'police force' known informally as 'ACORN Soldiers for Obama' gunning down two dozen protestors, including a Chicago Tribune reporter who was covering the opening of the new William Ayers Campus of the University of Chicago.

The protestors, were fired upon by order of the commander of the unit Jerrod 'Dr. D' Johnson, who justfied his actions stating that "Lies cannot be tolerated against the One!".

The Chicago Tribune has not yet printed the story, but they have stated that the reporter killed was suspected of disloyalty and most likely involved with the protestors. They also stated that printing a story about a rumored shooting without clearance from the 'First Amendment Desk' of the Tribune, and the Office of Fairness within the local ACORN unit, was against Tribune policy.

To preserve U.S. Jobs Obama... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

To preserve U.S. Jobs Obama issued an ultimatum to India today, demanding that they expel all U.S. citizens and cut all commercial ties with U.S. business. The ultimatum gives India just 30 days to comply or the U.S. will release weaponized hoof-and-mouth disease upon the cattle of India.

What spurred this ultimatum was the outsourcing of highly paid government and university jobs to unskilled workers in India. Obama simply can't abide having all his fiends unemployed as he's afraid they might go back to making bombs and he now lives in the target zone. That security threat justifies this action.

You folks have to wait for ... (Below threshold)
retired military:

You folks have to wait for the White House Press secratary Helen Thomas to get to all that stuff.

You gonna save these for la... (Below threshold)
Parthenon:

You gonna save these for late October 2009 so we can see how you did? You know, some sort of side-by-side JT's predictions v. reality?

Parthenon, I delete NOTHING... (Below threshold)

Parthenon, I delete NOTHING. You can go back to the very first article I ever posted here, and (with the exception of spelling/typo/grammar fixes) I do NOT go back and delete or rewrite anything.

So, pending a hardware meltdown, this'll still be here.

But this isn't a prediction, per se; it's more of an exploration into a plausible set of scenarios. Will it happen this way? I doubt it. Could it? I think so.

J.

If you're correct, or even ... (Below threshold)
Parthenon:

If you're correct, or even remotely so, I'll be the first over to say congrats. (And then possibly run for cover.) As I try to base my opinions as closely as I can on what appears to actually work (as opposed to what should work or what I'd like to work), if you are on the money for 2009-12, I won't be voting to reelect President Obama.

She's at it again.... (Below threshold)
Greg:

She's at it again.

jp2 = FOOL

Again, Parthenon, this wasn... (Below threshold)

Again, Parthenon, this wasn't a prediction, but an extrapolation of things I think possible and plausible. (With the possible exception of Biden at Thatcher's funeral, and the sheer fantasy about the nuke going off north of the Marianas). I'd be astonished if any of it all came to pass.

The real test is not how much of it comes true, but how much of it COULD come true -- is it consistent with what we know about Obama, his policies, his stated positions, his history, and world events?

I think it is.

J.

And one year and one day af... (Below threshold)
JFO:

And one year and one day after his inauguration the sky fell and the right wing internet(s) ceased to work.

i remember before the iraq ... (Below threshold)
peabody3000:

i remember before the iraq war when right-wingnuts, citizens and govt officials alike, invented one apocalyptic scenario after another, whipping themselves into ecstatic neocon frenzies. it was really quite shameful and silly, but also tragic as it assured the bu$h war could be pushed upon us all

now lets watch them do it again with the election.....

yawn. wont work this time

yaaawwwwnnnnnn........

and international pieces). ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

and international pieces). They of course are the best-case scenarios and I hope an pray that we are lucky enough to have things play out as well as you suggested here, should Obama be elected.

I also hope and pray that we never get to find out what an Obama Presidency would be like. Things could end up a lot worse than you are predicting.

Wow Jay Tea, those are some... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Wow Jay Tea, those are some pretty rosy scenarios you laid out there (both the domestic and international pieces). They of course are the best-case scenarios and I hope an pray that we are lucky enough to have things play out as well as you suggested here, should Obama be elected.

I also hope and pray that we never get to find out what an Obama Presidency would be like. Things could end up a lot worse than you are predicting.

"i remember before the iraq... (Below threshold)
retired military:

"i remember before the iraq war when right-wingnuts, citizens and govt officials alike, invented one apocalyptic scenario after another,"

peabody what you remember was the MSM estimating (before we went into Iraq) that we would have thousands of casualties shortly after we invaded Iraq.

retired - maybe you saw som... (Below threshold)
peabody3000:

retired - maybe you saw some commentator on hannity say that, but the MSM never did

if you wanna press your pint, google something up... go ahead, lets see it

<a href="http://www.dailyva... (Below threshold)
retired military:
It could get ugly here do... (Below threshold)
MF:

It could get ugly here domestically with more federal government intervention and the redistribtion of our hard earned money.
But no matter who wins the election they certainly get no prize or 'win'. They would have a mess to cleanup. I just hope whomever it may be can handle and will professionally handle anything that happens here on our soil
-- preferably they do as good a job as has been done since 9/11 in preventing anything serious from happening here on our land.

retired - im not sure if 5 ... (Below threshold)
peabody3000:

retired - im not sure if 5 long days or weeks would help you find something relevant

you said the MSM made dire predictions of heavy casualties. the linked articles you have posted above are instead posing thoughtful questions regarding how mounting numbers of US dead will affect the domestic support for thge war

of course, bu$h and co wondered the same thing before they decided not to let any of the thousands of caskets be photographed

and since your post was supposedly intended to be a counterpoint to all the fantastical dire predictions neocons were making about WMDs and iraqi nukes blowing up american cities, its an even bigger miss

Another overpaid troll.... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

Another overpaid troll.

All your questions in the world won't give you answers. At least you will have that silly dollar sign to keep you company. You don't work for the MSM do you? If so, you must know who the real fall guy is. If not, too bad. What? No creepy looking smiley face for retired?

lamedusa - you werent tryin... (Below threshold)
peabody3000:

lamedusa - you werent trying to sound smart there, were ya..... LOL

=]

heres a basic intelligence test: do you think mccain has a snowballs chance in hell of winning?

ahahaha. if you answered anything other than no then its time to stir something deadly into your kool-aid and take a niiiice big swig

More mindlessness. Do you ... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

More mindlessness. Do you get paid if you get a commenter to post a link?

heres a basic inte... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
heres a basic intelligence test: do you think mccain has a snowballs chance in hell of winning?

You've been spending too much time on that other message board with The Tooth.

wrong answer! start drinkin... (Below threshold)
peabody3000:

wrong answer! start drinkin, fukko!

moohahaha

and for christs sake, leave the posting up to the folks who can hack it and make valid discussion points. you simply cannot

wrong answer! star... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:
wrong answer! start drinkin, fukko!

More testy, infiltrated name-calling. :)

"valid discussion points...... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

"valid discussion points..."

Or you don't get paid. Try to leave before the bar closes. Can't wait to hear more of your "valid discussion points". You must be trying to get McCain elected, as well.

wow i never saw someone get... (Below threshold)
peabody3000:

wow i never saw someone get pissy about "valid discussion points" before

but then again lamedusa is a special breed of stooopid!

ahahaha

Hahahahahaha. Good predict... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Hahahahahaha. Good predictions.




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