The last Obama paradox

A Shakespearean drama engulfs the paradoxes of Obama’s presidency; the backdrop is the Syrian tragedy, the fore ground the comedy of errors. Kerry under the spotlight, after the anti-Israel resolution sponsored by Obama, gives his speech on settlements.

Did it convince the Palestinians that they have already won, and that negotiations don’t matter? This has been the U.S.’s role under Obama, while immense slaughters have taken place throughout the Middle East. Meanwhile, in Moscow, Russia completes a major political coup: meeting with its historical enemy, Turkey, the leader of the Sunni countries, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, and, together, its ally Iran with its splendid record of human rights violations, the most terrorist and belligerent country, the leader of all the world’s Shiites.

Putin, Erdogan and Khamenei signed a truce for Syria that began at midnight: it is unknown if it will work because ISIS and the Nusra Front Jabat didn’t sign it, but other very extreme formations, pushed by Turkey, their friend, seem to be sticking to it.

We will see, but in the meantime three great powers have come to an agreement on abandoning” those useless talks around the table” (said the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov himself), ignoring UN talks in Geneva (“we will work in parallel” they said, and it sound ironic), and setting aside the Americans as an irrelevant party.

Erdogan after a long period of intensive cooperation with Assad, has come to support the rebels, which includes a passage way for ISIS’s foreign fighters and now he has changed his rhetoric toward the Syrian dictator. Now he simply says that sooner or later Assad, the great murderer, will have to be called into question, but he knows well that Putin supports Assad as a necessary pawn to assert his presence in the Middle East. With Putin’s backing, Iranians sends along with their right arm Hezbollah, hordes of fierce armed men to Syria under the command of the Revolutionary Guard.

And Obama? Obama uses drones and occasionally deals a blow to ISIS, he watches from a distance the monstrous bombardment of Aleppo, and doesn’t even succeed to facilitate a decent humanitarian intervention.

He knows that Iran, smuggled into the international arena by the nuclear agreement he sponsored, has pushed away from their hometown Syria running frightened Sunnis who become the scores of refugees and in the worst case of terrorists who now are invading the West. Obama decided to step backwards by abandoning his warning of a “red line,” i.e. when he decided that America would not act in the face of the use of weapons of mass destruction, and this has left plenty of room open to Putin.

And yet Obama and Kerry while going out the scene, wanted the world to believe that they will play an important role in the Middle East: not that of trying to stop the 450 thousand deaths caused by Syrian Civil War, but the terrible, very dangerous Israeli settlements. Actually, the evacuation of 21 Jewish settlements from Gaza effectively handed territory over to a Palestinian State, providing the Islamic terrorist organization Hamas a State that is nothing but a large base to bomb Israel and send terrorist into it. Isn’t this worth one more thought about settlements?

But no! and acting on the base of principles instead than of reality brings consequences. Obama, the Nobel Price for Peace president, is the king of paradoxes: look at the history of his years and you will find out that he has been among the most warmongering presidents in American history.

This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (December 30, 2016)
Translation by Amy K. Rosenthal

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.
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