In this election season, it is natural and necessary to look at the record of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of States. Here is what I see:
Her record at State is mediocre at best. She did not manage to deal with the Arab uprisings effectively, and I suspect that she set the stage for worsening American-Russian relations and the re-emergence of the Cold War.
Her prediction of 2011 that Bashar al Assad has no place in Syria and will be out within weeks. Her support in 2011 for bombing Libya to aid the “rebels” and the premise that it will lead to democracy.
Soon enough, ISIS emerged within weeks in Syria, thanks to the Wahhabi ideology, money, weapons, and volunteers from “moderate” Wahhabi allies she courted and heeded. ISIS is now entrenched in Libya & other places, also thanks to the Wahhabi ideology, money, weapons, and volunteers from “moderate” Wahhabi allies she courted and heeded. She, and her aides, were not creative in both these important cases.
The Nuclear Deal with Iran would never have been reached if the hawkish Clinton was still Secretary of State. Possibly military action of some sort would have been initiated in the Persian Gulf.
I am not going to talk about Iraq and her repeating the Saudi mantra about Al Maliki and how if only he would leave. That was stupid as we can see that things got even worse now after al Maliki left…..
Her trade policies were a continuation of the mindset that created NAFTA a generation ago and pushed for the TPP deal last year. If she wins, don’t expect any changes in that regard.
As for Benghazi, Benghazi, well, that is/was a silly Republican opportunistic mantra that seems to have lost steam……
The point is: she was at best a mediocre secretary of state, and I am being generous here. John Kerry proved a superior secretary, and I wonder what could have been achieved if he had started in 2009…….
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“The Tuesday announcement of an end to Saudi airstrikes on Yemen, followed just a few hours later by more Saudi airstrikes on Yemen, has apparently not made the US bat an eye, and they are still pushing for a continuation of the war. “Obviously the job is not done,” White House officials said, saying they and their allies are “going to be doubling down” on the conflict. The US has been involved in a support role in Yemen, helping Saudi planes pick targets and assisting in the naval blockade which is causing humanitarian shortages……….”
The Saudis have used up a lot of American ammunition and bombs over the heads of the people of Yemen. They could not have done that so easily without a green light from the Obama administration. Nor without American intelligence and targeting, such as it has been in Yemen. And they would not have their ambassador in Washington become the main cheerleader for the war (sans pompoms).
Somehow the Saudis have got the United States to join their recent misadventure in Yemen. President Obama was starting o get a lot of lip from the usual Republican warmongers and jingoists in the Senate as well as complaints from some of the Persian Gulf potentates who had been urging him to get tougher and use the illusory “all options” against Iran. He joined the Yemen attack through American intelligence, targeting and most likely all other noncombat operations. He has also sent a naval task force from the Persian Gulf toward the Gulf of Aden.
Probably not very smart, considering the US has been unable to effectively push back Al Qaeda AQAP in Yemen, and the fact that the Houthis are the most effective enemies of AQAP. And the fact that the Saudis have apparently been careful to use American ordinance only against ‘others’ in Yemen, but not against AQAP.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
Strange state of American foreign policy these days. There are cases and situations where allies and foes can be exchanged:
- The current leader of America’s allegedly closest ally (Israel) and the U.S. president intensely dislike each other. It is obvious they have little respect for each other. Mr. Obama knows that Benyamin Netanyahu bears him ill will, besides being a habitual liar who can’t be trusted (imagine, a politician lying to another politician!). Most Western European leaders also believe the same. Mr. Netanyahu clearly believes that the U.S. president is a weakling who is not willing to launch an attack on Iran on Israel’s behalf. In fairness nor did George W Bush, but Netanyahu would never dare openly defy Bush.
- Mr. Obama believes that a nuclear deal with Iran is better than yet another American war waged against yet another Muslim country. Especially given the doubtful outcome, the cost-benefit of that war. America’s closest allies outside Europe, the Israelis, and the ruling potentates and princes of some Persian Gulf states, strongly object to almost any feasible deal.
- The Republican leader of the U.S. Congress has invited Mr. Netanyahu to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress, just after President Obama’s State of the Union Speech. Basically they are inviting a foreign leader to respond to the U.S. president. Inside the U.S Congress! Unheard of anywhere in the world.
- Mr. Obama also now has problems with some of his Arab allies regarding Syria. He and his advisers and most the American foreign policy establishment have revised their position on the Syrian civil war. Most have realized in the past year or so the real danger in Syria now is not the survival of Bashar Al Assad, but what will come afterwards. They were hoodwinked by Saudi, Emirati, and Qatari potentates into betting on the Free Syrian Army, which also did a good job of selling itself to some gullible and jingoistic American senators like McCain and Graham and the not-so-dearly-departed Lieberman. The Free Syrian Army soon morphed, most of it, into Al Nusra Front and ISIS and other groups of kidnappers and cutthroats.
- The Americans and the Syrians and Hezbollah and the Iranians are now fighting the same enemy, the Jihadis. For now. Eventually, the Americans would like for Al Assad and Iran and Hezbollah to go away (I am not sure where they can go since they live in the region). Eventually the Syrians and Iranians and Hezbollah would like for the Americans to go away (also not feasible any time soon).
- To complicate matters, there pops up Yemen, hardly felix now. In Yemen, the United States is trying hard to stem and roll back the regional Al Qaeda branch (AQAP) mainly by bombing its Saudi and Yemeni leadership. So are the new power wielders in Yemen, the Houthis who now control the capital. Yet the Gulf states, especially the Saudi princes and the UAE potentates, don’t approve of the Houthis. Besides their faith which is an offshoot of Shi’ism, they are also suspected of being too close to the Iranian regime. You can’t get any more heretical than that from a Wahhabi point of view. The Houthis do sport some silly Iranian-like anti-American slogans on posters in Sanaa, but it is not clear (to me) if their heart is in it. Nor where they stand ideologically regarding an Iran-style theocracy.
- So the Houthis fight Al Qaeda. The Houthis are reported to be supplied by Iran, although they don’t seem to carry advanced weapons, unlike Hezbollah in Lebanon. The Americans fight Al Qaeda. Both Houthis and Al Qaeda fight the previous dominant tribal oligarchs of Yemen. Al Qaeda also as usual kidnaps and/or kills any Westerners (or Shi’as) they can get their hands on. Then there are the separatists of South Yemen who would like to regain the independence they lost in 1990. Complicated? Just hang on, it is going to get even more complicated in the coming weeks.
- Then there is Lebanon, a place the Israeli military seem unable to stay away from. Once I likened it to the moth unable to resist the light and the fire, and cleverly if I may say so. We shall leave Lebanon, and Iraq, and North Africa for another day.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“These discredited Egyptian liberals made their bed with the generals, now they are being forced to sleep in it. So just relax and enjoy it for the next thirty years: you’ve earned it……………” Me
Here is my broad-brush take on political developments in Egypt since 2011:
- In February 2011 during the uprising against the regime of Hosni Mubarak, many of his Egyptian opponents claimed that the Obama administration was trying to shore up his position, to keep him in power.
- On the other hand, many of his supporters complained that the United States was trying to overthrow him, by not helping him. Saudi King Abdullah, who famously claimed the protesters at Tahrir were foreign agents, is still pissed upset at Obama for not helping Mubarak crush his people.
- After Mubarak fell, almost everybody in Egypt who was not an army general claimed the Obama administration was keeping the SCAF military junta in power. Some among the military probably suspected that Obama was ready to throw them under one of those crowded Cairo buses.
- In the summer of 2012, Mohammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood won the presidency in free and fair close elections. His domestic and Arab opponents mostly acted as if the Obama administration had somehow helped him win the election. The Islamists claimed that he won in spite of American plots against him. Persian Gulf princes and potentates who could not tell an election from the proverbial ‘hole in the ground’ apparently suspected foul play. Egypt’s liberals joined forces with the oligarchs and the Mubarakistas and the Wahhabis to call for ‘restoration’ of the feloul.
- In July of 2013 General Al Sisi, whom Morsi had promoted to minister of defense, stabbed him in the back by staging a military coup that overthrew the elected president. Al Sisi was urged to act by three factions: Egypt’s deluded liberals, the feloul, and the Gulf princes and potentates. The Muslim Brotherhood -MB- claimed the Americans were in cahoots with the military. Admittedly that was a very tempting suspicion, given the history.
- At the time U.S. congressional delegations to Cairo had divergent opinions: McCain/Graham said correctly that July 3 of 2013 was a military coup; Bachmann/Gohmert (the idiot delegation) praised the military coup even as they told Egyptians of the joys of American electoral democracy.
- The other side in Egypt, the liberals and oligarchs and feloul, claimed the Americans had made a deal with the MB and had wanted them in power. Egypt’s ‘liberals’, most of whom had urged the military to stage a coup and supported it, now proceeded to whine that the military had made plans with Washington to take power (after a coup that these same liberals pushed for and supported).
Continue reading America on the Nile, Whining on the Nile: Time to Grow Up on the Nile?……..