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The coalition that hates each other

TOM BURGUM
Staff Columnist
burgum@lbknews.com

The Kingston Trio, one of the folk groups popular in the late 1950s, recorded a song called the Merry Minuet. With just a bit of paraphrasing it goes a long way to describe the Middle East muddle today.

“The whole Mideast is festering

With unhappy souls.

They’re rioting in Libya

They’re starving in the Sudan

There’s kidnapping in Nigeria

In Egypt it’s hit the fan.

The Sunis hate the Shias,

The Shias & Syria hate the Jews

and such,

Iran hates ISIS,

and no one likes us very much.

One has to have some sympathy for the current administration as they try to figure out who is a friend, who is an enemy and who will be friends and enemies next week. We led from behind in Libya and a coalition freed the Libyan people who then used their newfound freedom to kill our ambassador and force us completely out of the country. Have to admit, that’s a long way from a heartfelt thank you.

If Libya is a new enemy, Syria has been an enemy for some time. They became a problem when they crossed Obama’s red line like it wasn’t there and started gassing their own people. Russia became, if not a friend, an opportunistic ally, and offered to broker an agreement to get ride of the weapons of mass destruction. Once Assad agreed to go back to killing his people in a reasonable way, he remained an enemy but slipped from the headlines.

The Kurds are unquestionably our friends and we are now assisting in their effort to fend off the Islamic State (ISIS). Iran is our enemy, unquestionably, and continues to develop nuclear weapons. They are also helping arm the Kurds. So, if we bomb ISIS in Iraq and Syria, aren’t we assisting Assad and Iran in their war with ISIS? The administration must think there might be common cause with Iran and explored acting in concert with them. The Iranian response was something to the effect “we don’t want to appear in public with people like you.”

In other areas of the Mideast, you need a program to keep track of who is working with whom. Saudi Arabia and Egypt oppose Hamas and are no friends of Iran. So, a most unlikely alliance seems to have emerged with Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia uniting in opposition to the Syrian, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian faction.

Turkey is a NATO ally and is supposed to have a special friendship with our president. Not really. Turkey has steadfastly refused to let us use the NATO airfields that are close to the Iraqi-Syrian battlefield. Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan supports Hamas and is a close friend of Iran. I guess in one respect, it is a very special kind of friendship. Not one to be desired, but it is special.

The alliance of the willing, or that group of nations willing to help us in our anti-terrorism/no boots on the ground/war action against ISIS, is somewhere around nine or ten, according to White House press secretary Josh Earnest. No list of just what nations comprise the coalition of the willing is available, or what they intend to contribute, but I’ll wager that the “I’ll hold your coat” type of assistance will be what most offer.

Hard to blame those who hold back. This administrations record in foreign affairs has been dismal. Obama watched Russia annex parts of the Ukraine without offering even material assistance despite a treaty guarantee of Ukrainian independence. Who wants to get involved in a coalition that is prone to set red lines and equally prone to ignore violation of the same.

The reality is people don’t really trust us anymore. Mark Steyn quoted Mustafa Alani of the Gulf Research Center in Dubai: “We have reached a low point of trust in the administration. We think in a time of crisis Mr. Obama will walk away from everyone if it means saving his own skin.” Also, “Different countries,” according to Salman Shaikh of the Brookings Doha Institute in Qatar, “are suspicious of the United States for different reasons, but all feel betrayed in some way by recent U.S. policies.”

Seems no one is going to furnish the boots on the ground. As of last Tuesday, there is no evidence that any countries have offered material assistance other than Australia and France. (Yes! France) That leaves us with having to count on the Syrian doctors, lawyers and candle stick makers that Obama disparaged just a year ago. Unless, of course, this morass pulls us in and we again furnish boots on the ground from our diminishing military establishment.

Critics claim that Obama doesn’t like the distraction created by international crisis. For Obama, and modern progressives, according to Mark Steyn, “Real politics is about free contraceptives for thirty something college students, and transgender bathrooms for grade-schoolers. ‘Foreign policy’ is something old bitter white men do.”

There is an 800 pound international guerilla no one is talking about. Iran continues the effort to acquire nuclear weapons. They missed another inspection deadline and no one seems to have noticed. It is clear that the efforts of Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to seduce the Iranians with niceness has been unsuccessful.  To paraphrase the Kingston Trio again:

But Iran can be tranquil

and proud

for they’ll soon have

a mushroom shaped cloud.

And we know for certain that

some lovely day,

someone will set the spark off

and the Mideast will be blown away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Responses for “The coalition that hates each other”

  1. Ross says:

    Agree with you Tom on the Colony
    Ross

  2. Tom Burgum says:

    Ross, Colony mess far too complicated for my country-boy understanding.
    Tom

  3. alan janssens says:

    Amazing that the U.S. strategy of dropping bombs on people hasn’t won us respect and made us friends around the world. 9-11 was push back, not the beginning. At least Obama had the brains to bluff we he he said, ”We have no strategy”. I was in Berlin having breakfast with retired U.S. Military members (all over 60 years of age). I said, “Bull …., don’t be surprised to wake up within in the next 3 weeks to news of massive bombing attacks”, they all smiled, and the one gent, who never was seen in uniform during is service (you figure it out), nodded. That was 4 weeks ago. Obama was talking to the Middle East..talking to anyone who wanted to listen..’.we’re not going it alone anymore’. They got the message….loud and clear..and so should the American people.

  4. Ross P. Alander says:

    Are you talking about all of the folks involved with the Colony mess?:)
    Ross

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