Obama’s Syrian stain

Obama’s Syrian stain

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Source: Israel Hayom – by Zalman Shoval (Obama’s Syrian stain)

French former Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has accused U.S. President Barack Obama of failing not only Syria, but the entire world by not bombing Syrian President [psychopath] Bashar Assad’s forces after Assad crossed the “red line” of using chemical weapons. Fabius has also said that the current crises in the Middle East, the Ukraine, Crimea and more, all stem from the “dangerous ambiguities” of the “main pilot” of the Western camp — Obama.

It is not unusual for close allies to complain about each other, but Fabius’ harsh words seem to have set a new standard. True, Fabius is no longer serving in a diplomatic role, but we can assume his statements accurately reflected the opinion of the entire French diplomatic establishment, and possibly even that of other players in the Western camp. Last week, a prestigious British weekly characterized Obama’s policy in Syria, which is based on the hope that Assad will be removed from power without steps being taken to force him to step down, as “pathetic.”

To be fair, criticism of the U.S. doesn’t stop with Obama. David Kilcullen, an Australian army officer and researcher on counterinsurgency who was once chief diplomatic adviser to Multinational Force in Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus, wrote in his book “Blood Year: Islamic State and the Failures of the War on Terror” that the decision by former President George W. Bush to invade Iraq in 2003 was “the greatest strategic screw-up since Hitler’s invasion of Russia.” But Kilcullen added that Obama’s “mistakes” in Iraq and Syria and America’s “catastrophic lack of initiative” were a “strategic disaster” and a leading factor in the founding of the Islamic State group.

It is the criticism in France that is the most biting. Francois Heisbourg, a well-known and esteemed expert in diplomacy who recently visited Israel, compares America’s attitude toward Syria to the missteps of the Austro-Hungarian Empire that led to World War I. And while France’s posturing as a superpower — especially in the Levant (Syria and Lebanon), to which it claims a special tie — certainly plays a part in Fabius’ and Heisbourg’s scathing remarks, these remarks can also be seen as an expression of disappointment with the U.S. supposedly giving up leadership of the free world, especially at a time when hostile entities are stepping up their efforts to attack that world and its values.

Israel, too, is concerned about many aspects of American foreign policy in our region, particularly when it comes to Iran. But Israel’s enjoyment at the sound of these harsh criticisms leveled at the U.S. is quite limited, considering the various anti-Israel European initiatives, including Fabius’ own initiative on the Palestinian issue. Still, Heisbourg’s assertion that “the next U.S. president is going to have to demonstrate early on — under circumstances that he or she would have preferred to avoid — that this was an Obama moment, not an America moment,” could be meaningful for us, as well.

And when it comes to the American election, what is said before an election usually doesn’t match what’s said after it. But while Hillary Clinton, the near-certain Democratic nominee, and Republican candidates Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are aware of America’s international importance, Donald Trump — currently the leading candidate in the Republican camp — is showing, at least from some of his remarks, tendencies that could be seen as isolationist, possibly even more than Obama’s.

Obama’s Syrian stain

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