The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

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kiryan
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The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby kiryan » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:15 pm

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... ions_world

Ok we all have heard people claim that the unrest sweeping the middle east is a test of Obama. They're so nebulous and its hard to really quantify exactly what the test is and how he performs...

This article articulates one such test well.

What message does it send when regimes who are sympathetic and show weakness are crushed by popular uprising and regimes that respond with force survive with only "talk" coming from the west. Specifically, what does it say to Iran.

I liked Bush's foreign policy initially. It was strong it said take us seriously because we will fuking invade you. Yea it pissed everyone off, but that doesn't mean it was not the best policy.

In retrospect, it was naieve to support such a policy because it relies on each administration executing foreign policy the same way. While that was roughly teh case before, state department maintaining consistent positions, it completely upended by Obama's "we need to talk to our enemies" position (a position that I think at least sounds good if is not actually good... to be determined).

So now where does that leave us. Should we support intervention in Libya? Should we be show strength (something Obama has been constantly criticized on)... or stay out of other countries affairs and let people govern themselves. I'm leaning towards minding our own business after the fallout from the Bush years and the costs of the wars... but I'm also pro America style democracies in Arab countries (ones that respect the rights of all people and has a separation of church and state).

What do you think Obama should do?
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby Teflor Lyorian » Mon Mar 14, 2011 8:39 pm

We honestly don't need to intervene in the internal affairs of the middle eastern countries. For once, they are focused on tearing themselves a new one instead of us. I say kick back with some popcorn and offer humanitarian aid only.
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby kiryan » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:49 pm

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/af_libya

One way to look at this is its a test of the UN. The world has criticized the US for decades for "interfering" and at the same time waits for us to take decisive action. I think Obama alluded to this in his earliest speeches after becoming president... with his whole give us some credit quip. Obama is giving the world the what they claim they wanted... the extreme opposite of GWB's positions.... if you ask me the UN failed miserably... again... as they always do.

But anyway, Gadhafi is apparently winning. The rebels have lost momentum and it seems likely that the current window of opportunity for democracy to take hold in Libya has passed. Lets assume Gadhafi comes out on top. Where does that leave us? Obama has said Gadhafi is illegitimate and must go... but isn't out in front like other countries in Europe... but clearly we weren't "on his side" like other countries.

Will Obama walk back his claims and embrace Libya? Doesn't seem likely since he's an idealogical egoist. So the net benefit is we have shitty relations which is the same as the result had we intervened?

=== since this question isn't getting much traction, lets talk about GWB's WAR for OIL vs Obama's NOT war for OIL.

Is there any moral high ground for Obama in Libya or is he almost as bad as Bush? isn't Obama not going to war for oil? Is being beholden to oil only negative when you go to war and not when you don't support democracy to keep the oil flowing? Where are the claims Obama sold out to big corporations for oil like they did with Bush? It seems to me its as bad of a position to go to war for oil as it is to not go to war to protect your oil...

Assuming Obama is considering American interests (he said as much at least in terms of not criticizing Libya while we had citizens there)... I'd almost argue that Bush's position was more noble and ethical since I truly believe he went to war over principle.

Here are some weak indications of whether we have and how significant our business ties are to Libya.

The group included BP, a foreign company as well, Exxonmobil, Halliburton, Raytheon, Conocophillips and Northrop Grummond. And trade with Libya has gone up to $2.6 billion. The Libyan government has paid $2 million to three lobbying groups. Since then, the Livingston Group has been dropped. They say they dropped Libya, Libya says they dropped them. But overall, these firms have a vested interest in working with the current regime.

http://www.cpa-connecticut.com/blog/?p=1971

The United States and other Western nations, including Britain, have very significant business ties to Libya. When diplomatic relations with Libya resumed in 2004, U.S. companies were among those who rushed to stake their claim. Several companies lobbied to ensure their access to Libya’s considerable oil reserves. Michael Lawson has more.

http://fsrn.org/audio/libyan-revolution ... rests/8094

Several major US oil companies, including ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil and Hess Corp, now have significant stakes in Libya's oil industry, according to a fact sheet prepared by Reuters on February 23. However, 80-85% of Libya’s oil exports go to Europe and companies such as British Petroleum, Italy’s Eni, Spain’s Repsol and Royal Dutch Shell have some of the biggest stakes.

http://links.org.au/node/2179
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby amena wolfsnarl » Wed Mar 16, 2011 12:20 am

Do you really want to see another Iraq? Where the American government has to run another country while thier fledging government emerges? Do you really want to see the US army thrown into another hostile country and forced to police it?

I think the UN won't be able to do much in this situation. They wil at best impose sanctions on them. But really what is the UN going to do? Invading and replacing gadhafi will not be something the UN will even consider, they will be blocked by someone with a veto power without a doubt. The current set up in the UN really makes them almost useless. The veto power needs to be striped from the countries and a true democratic vote needs to be set up with it's members. Let's face it though this will never happen, the veto power is something that the members will never give up, can't blame em there.
Obama won't invade I'm pretty certain, some might definetly look at that as weak without a doubt. But with the US forces already in 2 hostile countries do you think it's a good idea to enter a 3rd?
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby kiryan » Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:50 am

I don't necessarily disagree... as a matter of fact I've moved into the no more wars because America has no backbone. A no fly zone is about the limit of what i'd support and I'm seriously pretty much about ok you bitched and whine about America all these years, we'll let you blow yourselves up from now on.

however, Obama is on record denouncing Gadhafi and he "must go". So what happens when he crushes this rebellion... a bunch of pansy ass pussy sanctions and strong words? Does that reflect well or poorly on Obama.

It seems like a much better position would've been to keep his mouth shut if he wasn't going to back it up... and not sure what value they would've had if the rebels had won... Obama supported us maybe? I dunno, I can't see how Obama completes this test with a pass... He looks weak an irrelevant and I dare say America does too.

again, I'm basically against intervention.
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby Sarvis » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:12 pm

You realize this isn't a grade school playground right? That this isn't the middle ages? Men haven't been judged on how many people they kill for generations. You keep telling me we're so much more civilized than Middle Eastern people, yet you talk about how weak we'll look if we don't start bombing and killing people. Grow the fuck up. Civilization is about NOT resorting to violence.
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby Teflor Lyorian » Wed Mar 16, 2011 5:26 pm

Yes, it is. You're the one that needs to grow up. Or better yet, observe the simple graph that displays the capability of a civilization to execute violence with their reputation as civilizations, it goes something like this: /
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby kiryan » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:19 pm

So in your opinion, the sign of a great "civilization" is standing by and spewing rhetoric amidst crimes against humanity?

I wonder what Europe and the Jews who can remember WWII think about that. or the UN who once upon a time wasn't just a forum for bashing Israel.

I think its clear who needs to take a grown up position.
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby Sarvis » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:39 pm

kiryan wrote:So in your opinion, the sign of a great "civilization" is standing by and spewing rhetoric amidst crimes against humanity?

I wonder what Europe and the Jews who can remember WWII think about that. or the UN who once upon a time wasn't just a forum for bashing Israel.

I think its clear who needs to take a grown up position.


Question: Do our cops go in with guns blazing, or do they try to capture criminals without injuring/killing them?

The latter? Why is that, do you think? It would be so much easier to just shoot everyone, right?
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby kiryan » Wed Mar 16, 2011 10:47 pm

... if the police came upon a person about to inflict grievous bodily harm on another person... they're guns (or at least tasers) would come out and a hostile action would result in immediate action.

The US and several prominent European countries have shouted POLICE, STOP.

Gadhafi has escalated and is literally killing people and the rebellion.

Now... what? Shout stop again? Louder? Threaten to write him a ticket (sanctions)?

Obama shouted stop. If he wasn't going to back it up... if he was going to maintain a non internventionist policy (which I'm leaning towards), then I think he should've just kept his mouth shut. What good did it do to inject himself into it?

Was he trying to inspire the rebels or was he trying to put pressure on Gadhafi? If he wanted to put pressure on gadhafi... then thats what embassies are for... if you want to inspire rebels or pander to your base, you go on TV. I just don't understand the plan, it doesn't seem coherent.
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby kiryan » Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:54 pm

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/03 ... kes-libya/

Meanwhile, Sen. John McCain, who has been pushing the Obama administration to impose a no-fly zone for weeks, questioned Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz at the committee hearing on why that move would now be too little too late.

Schwartz did not say that the U.S. military should have implemented a no-fly zone but he did agree that if one were to be imposed now it would require additional military action.

"A no-fly zone would not be sufficient," Schwartz said.

"As opposed to a few weeks ago when it would have been," McCain replied.

== so now we're pushing aggressively for a UN security council resolution for a no fly zone... after the point where it would've been effective. Obama's position is no boots on the ground. Again, the policy seems confused and ineffective.

Strong words (gadhafi must go) followed by weak actions (no fly zone) followed by pointless actions (a no fly zone resolution at a point in time where it would be useless)?
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby kiryan » Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:19 pm

Welp, I thought Khadfi was playing his hand well, he offered a cease fire and suggested that the rebels flee to Egypt. (i suspect he would've just killed them as they fled, but thats something else entirely)

Then he screwed up imo. He got scared that the UN may vote for a no fly zone and decided to make terrorism threats specifically to the mediterranean. I suppose it could still go either way, but it certainly isn't helping him in the vote to threaten the international community.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-E ... vote-nears

“Any foreign military act against Libya will expose all air and maritime traffic in the Mediterranean Sea to danger,” the statement warned. “Civilian and military [facilities] will become targets.”
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby kiryan » Fri Mar 18, 2011 9:42 pm

Well they approved the no fly zone... and despite being late in coming... this might be genius in retrospect.

His tone in his speech projects strength and carries the authority of the world government. HE looks very presidential regardless of what lead up to this point.

Although he can be criticized for the missed opportunity... that missed opportunity doesn't really matter to AMericans at the end of the day. At the same time he is blameless for any delay because its the fault of the UN organization. He appears to have a focused mission which will make "victory" terms very clear even if it goes on for a long time, he can claim the resolution is being carried out successfully... where GWB invaded two countries and toppled two regimes... but few would call it "victory"

If more Libyan's get killed or the rebellion fails or turns into an Israel Palestine style conflict... he's still insulated because he's protecting and aiding the people... Its hard for me to imagine how he can screw this up at this point. I don't think the feckless narrative can survive against the backdrop of speeches like above.

Interesting.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/obama-u-allies ... 0-971.html
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby Corth » Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:18 am

Trying to make sense of this Libya mission. I don't see how it matters to the US, from a strategic point of view, what happens in Libya. Should have made the French do it on their own.
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby Teflor Lyorian » Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:56 pm

Obama is using Libya to relinquish the leadership role of the United States, to remove the US from the role of top dog.

He wants the rest of the world to stand up for freedom and he's using the plight of the Libyan people to goad other world leaders into doing what the United States used to do.
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby kiryan » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:01 pm

Well.. I guess he can screw it up. He was looking strong, but now I'm hearing he wants to play 2nd fiddle... which is not necessarily something I'm against ( I think it woudl be great if other nations took the lead and bore th criticism they oft leveled at us), but does still play into the narrative that he is weak, dithers and is not decisive. If the coalition crumbles (like China, Russia and the AFU withdraws support)... then that further magnifies this criticism and begs the question what was the point?

I've been thinking about the no fly zone since Khadafi started pushing the rebels back... a no fly zone protects existing positions... or levels the playing field... Is it our goal to play referee or to remove khadafi? We've stated a goal that khadfi must go... why on earth would we interfere just to give the rebels a fighting chance? Some sort of noble its their destiny type excuse? Or some sort of sense of bad sportsmanship? srsly? What if Khadafi is still able to make gains against the rebels, are we willing to let the rebels fall? or is it purely one sided, we'll let the rebels advance but not khadafi, so the only expected otucome is the eventual overthrow of khadafi? um... is thats the goal... I think we have more expedient and rational ways to achieve that.

Finally, whatever good economic relationships we had with Libya are now in the trash and again Russia and China are there to be the good guys after its all over. Even if the rebels win, Russians and Chinenese who know how to do business in 3rd world countries (read bribes) will beat American companies.
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby Teflor Lyorian » Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:02 pm

Unfortunately, other nations simply don't have the huevos.

And massive military spending budgets.
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Re: The middle east, an interesting test for Obama

Postby kiryan » Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:53 pm

Jim Bolton highlighting 4 mistakes not to make again on an intervention.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/03/ ... ervention/

First, do not wait until it’s almost too late

== fair criticism.

Second, do not embrace confused and imprecise mission objectives.

== not sure this is legitimate criticism... although I'm not sure the objectives have been actually defined yet.

Third, do not diffuse political authority, and therefore ultimate responsibility.

== yep.

Fourth, do not bet on partners who may not have the military capability to achieve the objectives.

== hmm did not think of that... what happens if France and England can't execute the operation... or achieve the objective. I suppose no worse than how we asked them to join us in Iraq and Afghanistan and couldn't deliver on our objectives.

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