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Obama Doctrine, Washing Blood From His Hands, British Press Going Ballistic

Next Cold War Roundup 3/11/16.

 The Obama Doctrine and the Underside of Buses

_ A very long read in the Atlantic by Jeffrey Goldberg, “The Obama Doctrine,” is based on an interview with Pres. Obama, describes a president with a “natural reticence toward getting militarily ensnarled”, mismatched with his hawkish and/or humanitarian interventionist circle of advisors, and proud of his decision to call off the bombing of Syria in 2013.  The article is causing quite a stir here and across the pond. For instance, the “British press is going ballistic.” An offended foreign policy guy, Dan Drezner goes as far as to say Obama has no respect for the foreign policy community and there’s “a little bit of Donald Trump in Barack Obama.” Given the yuuge length of the article and number of targets, many more will probably emerge over time.

_ Obama also takes credit for initiating the idea of having Syrian president Assad give up all his chemical weapons in exchange for calling off the cruise missiles. That proposal was widely attributed to Russian president Putin, reportedly causing great anger in the White House and criticism from the hawks. This is the first time anyone has claimed it was Obama’s idea all along.  Moon of Alabama characterizes the massive long read as Obama “attempting to wash the blood off his hands and to whitewash his legacy.”

_ Amidst widespread negative media attention to the situation in Libya, due to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and a new deployment of troops in the post-regime change chaos, Obama also throws people under the bus, left and right, blaming them for the disastrous Libyan war fought on his commander-in-chief watch. First to go was Samantha Power, calling her a “partisan” of the “responsibility to protect” (R2P) doctrine. Obama via Goldberg makes clear that her doctrine is not his doctrine and even provides an anecdote of his “frustration” with her  “’Samantha, enough, I’ve already read your book,’ he once snapped.”

_ Next to go under the naming names Libya bus were “Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice […] Samantha Power, Ben Rhodes, and Antony Blinken” with another sharp soundbite for the media quoting Joe Biden: “Hillary just wants to be Golda Meir.”

_ Last under the Libya bus are what Goldberg and Obama referred to as “free riders” — “Europe and a number of Gulf countries”.  They later name some names and push UK prime minister David Cameron and French president Nicolas Sarkozy and added more biting quotes about how Cameron “soon stopped paying attention” and “Sarkozy wanted to trumpet the flights he was taking in the air campaign, despite the fact that we had wiped out all the air defenses and essentially set up the entire infrastructure.”

_ Hillary Clinton gets thrown under the bus a second time on Syria, and to a large extent John Kerry does too.  They reveal that Hillary knew the regime change operation had failed in 2014 and that it had “left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.”  Then Goldberg revealed, via a “friend” that Kerry said “I just got fucked over” after Obama changed his mind about bombing Syria in 2013.

_ The American Thinker pushes back.  “We wouldn’t have been in Libya if the president and his UN Ambassador Samantha Power hadn’t heavily lobbied our NATO allies to get rid of Gaddafi.”  They claim that Obama took credit for regime change but then walked away, leaving the “long, slogging diplomatic work” to others.  They think it will come as no surprise that Obama refuses to take responsibility for his own disasters but think “it must have come as a shock to our European allies that he would so casually throw them under the bus.”

ISIS Leaked Documents

_ A cache of documents from ISIS personnel files was leaked to British, German and Syrian opposition media containing the names of ISIS recruits from at least 40 countries.  BBC reports that Germany’s interior minister said the documents are probably genuine.  The German FBI says the leaks might discourage potential ISIS recruits. Many of the reported 22,000 names are duplicates. Sky News said the “man who stole it was a former Free Syrian Army convert to Islamic State who calls himself Abu Hamed.” Sky News chief correspondent said he met Hamed “at a secret location in Turkey” who also told him ISIS was “giving up on its headquarters in Raqqa and moving into the central deserts of Syria and ultimately Iraq, the group’s birthplace.” Hamed then made a claim that ISIS, Syrian Kurds (YPG) and the Syrian government were all working together against the Syrian opposition.  It might appear this way to a Free Syrian Army fighter, given that all three of the above do fight against the Syrian opposition but only the Syrian government and YPG coordinate, by all other accounts and logic.

The American Colony of Ukraine

_ Stephen Cohen’s latest weekly interview on the John Batchelor Show  focused on the crumbling state of Ukraine and their failing government.  The current prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, hand-picked by Victoria Nuland,

_ Cohen believes there are parallels between American “intervention” in Ukraine today and

the kind of intervention that happened in Russia in the 1990’s, as described in this Nation article: “The Harvard Boys Do Russia.”

_ More on the Ukraine blackout. The spin is to push the blame on Russia. Surprise.

_ At a “Future of War” conference on Thursday, Lt Gen McMaster said the “invasion of Ukraine punctuated the post-Cold War period” and said the current wars are about territory, … and the risks of great power conflict are higher than at any time in the past 70 years.

_ “Sleepwalking Toward Catastrophe” = there has been little debate about the risk of stumbling into a nuclear war with Russia because of the skewed, “neocon-dominated” news media.

 Partitioning Syria

_ More lobbying for partitioning Syria. Is this a campaign? If so, what group is behind it?  Two recent proposals come from retired Admiral James Stavridis “It’s Time to Seriously Consider Partitioning Syria: No one wants to break up a country. But really, what’s left of it?” The second is from Peter Van Buren, a whistleblower who was forced out of the State Dept. after his criticisms of the Iraq War “Time for a new Sykes-Picot Agreement to fix the Middle East.”  Given his previous criticisms of the US handling of post-Saddam Iraq, this new position Van Buren is taking is rather shocking.  Stavridis proposal to break up Syria is less surprising. He was a NATO Supreme Commander, he advocated sending weapons to Ukraine, recommended doing a formal defense pact with Israel,


_ Humanitarian crisis in Yemen continues with little attention form western media

_ “Yemen’s destruction is one cost of the US-Saudi alliance

Saudi Arabia

_ “Saudi Arabia says could turn page if Iran changes policies” and stops “meddling” in their affairs.  They consider Syria to be their affairs.


US Long Range Nuclear-Capable Bombers in Australia

“‘We’re in the process of talking about rotational forces, bombers and tankers out of Australia and it gives us the opportunity to train with Australia,’ Commander of US Pacific Air Forces, General Lori Robinson, told journalists in Canberra as cited by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.”

Anti-war Arab and Muslim Americans Help Sanders Win Michigan Primary

_ Dearborn resident Mohamad Naim said Bernie Sanders won the vote in Dearborn because “Arabs and Muslims are disgusted with continuous war overseas, whether in Afghanistan or Iraq or Libya […] Hillary Clinton endorsed the war in Libya, and Obama was heavily influenced by her. Since it’s our people dying abroad, we want someone who understands that enforced regime change does not bring a positive change. We want a president who is not overtaken by corporations and driven by wars overseas.” Sanders reached out to talk about issues to the people of Dearborn, 30% of whom are Arab American. He also ran campaign ads in Arabic. Islamic Center of America in Dearborn is the largest mosque in North America.

Syrian Battlefield

_ Syrian rebels operation to seize the Iraq border crossing al-Tanf (also near the Syrian-Jordanian border) from ISIS was launched and according to ISIS failed within 24 hours.



“Rare and Lawful” Deployment of Military Spy Drones Over US

_ Pentagon Inspector General report from March, 2015 released under FOIA last week says military drones flown over American soil on non-military missions “have occurred fewer than 20 times between 2006 and 2015 and always in compliance with existing law.” An ACLU analyst said technology changes “so rapidly that existing law no longer fit what people think are appropriate.” The Secretary of Defense can authorize the use of military drones for use by civil authorities and the report said that the “appetite” to use military spy drones domestically is growing as is the appetite for the military to use them on domestic territory. The specific missions that were flown are not included in the report except for some examples.


Joanne Leon

Joanne Leon

Joanne is a blogger with focus on issues of war and peace, a mom, engineer, software developer and amateur photographer.