Philosopher Eric Hoffer once quipped, “The only way to predict the future is to have power to shape the future”
In that regard, U.S. President Barack Obama has failed miserably to predict what could go wrong in Syria. He refused to acknowledge the power he has to shape events and history leaving Syria’s fate to the laws of probabilities.
Historically, those laws have only produced undesirable outcomes in that part of the world because the British divided the region to make it a high maintenance one conceived to depend on Western intervention (Sykes-Picot).
Because he ignored the moderate Syrian opposition and refused to help them defend themselves from the Assad onslaught, the extremists, eventually, filled that vacuum with help from wealthy Sunni Arabs. Instead of a predictable future for Syria, we instead have total chaos and instability.
Obama’s laissez-faire attitude towards Syria has been detrimental to U.S. interests. The fires he permitted to burn themselves out in Syria by ignoring them have reached his fingers. Everyone on his staff today knows how infantile they were to ignore Syria or to permit it to fall into the dark caves of terror. If they don’t, America is in serious trouble.
The learning on the job arsonist Barack Obama is failing America when it comes to Syria and Iraq.
Having learned from Syria, Barack Obama confronted another fire by facing it immediately.
His US-Iran deal is in deep trouble partially because of Israeli opposition to a deal that would eventually pave the way for Iran to build nuclear weapons and partially because of the same concerns expressed by Arab U.S. allies in the Gulf.
Although he mismanaged Israel because of his arrogance and known bias, he tried not to make the same mistake when it came to Saudi Arabia.
Thus was born the GCC Camp David Summit aimed at putting out the fire that was just about to start in the region when the Kingdom threatened with acquiring its own nuclear weapons from friendly Pakistan. The learning on the job arsonist Barack Obama, in this instance, reacted promptly to a future crisis even though four of the six leaders of the GCC refused to show up.
It remains to be seen if he was successful or not in extinguishing that fire. We will know in post-June 2015.
Obama’s management style is detrimental to U.S. interests. America cannot afford a commander-in-chief whose on the job learning curve is shallow and flat when it matters to U.S. interests, and steep and responsive when it comes to his own personal legacy.
Did Obama respond to Saudi threats because it would have sank his Iran deal or did he respond because he predicted an outcome that could have been disastrous for America?
We will have the answer to this question next time terror breaks out somewhere because Obama refused to acknowledge the power we gave him to shape history.