The “Mystery” of Obama “diplomacy”

Recent events in the region (Syria, Iran, Russia) have focused hard that which I have been describing for a decade as America’s policy of withdrawing from the Middle East turned into near-panicked retreat. Beginning with the Bush Administration invading Iraq only to discover that America was now facing another Vietnam; continuing with the Obama Administration promoting an apparently endless series of diplomatic blunders beginning with slamming the door on Palestine (settlement construction as a precondition to negotiations); the Mubark/Morsi fiasco; non-intervention in the Syrian tragedy; and today a “peace-in-our-time” deal allowing Iran to retain its nuclear program: clearly a transparent intention to abandon the Middle East and, as the dominoes fall, Europe and the world to whatever fate results as the US retreats to the “security” of its illusory safety in its two-ocean isolationist womb.

Even aware that its failure of courage and responsibility are imposing on the most unstable region on the planet a nuclear arms race as the Saudis, Egypt and Turkey are all shopping for, or embarking on their own nuclear weapons programs to counter America’s pyrrhic betrayal, its deal with Iran!

What follows below is a dialogue between an Israeli critic and my description of but one event demonstrating America’s flight from the region. (Note: I have never described the Withdrawal/Retreat American policy in partisan terms: it is “American,” beginning with Bush/Republican and concluding with Obama/Democrat. My critic is hopeful that with a possible change in party occupying the White House next election, that will bring about a reversal of policy. It won’t!)

Chris: Your statement [regarding Obama dispatching the Eisenhower aircraft carrier task force and the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group to Syria, then immediately withdrawing it] is slightly of base, I keep track of such movements.

DT: [quoting my December blog]

Shortly before the deployment of two American Patriot missiles manned by 400 US servicemen for defending Turkey against Syria was announced Thursday, Dec. 13, Washington quietly recalled from Syrian waters the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier and its strike group and the USS Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready group and the 2,000 Marines on their decks.”

Those Marines were not there to provide “humanitarian” aid to “westerners,” Chris. They had been dispatched as a show of force, another such that pointed to another retreat from using the threat of force, Obama’s “red line” in Syria…

It’s essential to maintain a “strategic” view of American actions, Chris. US policy is the abandonment of the Middle East, through the fig leaf of appeasement (replacing Mubarak with the Brotherhood; cutting what, to all appearances is a deal with Iran allowing the nuke program to remain intact). In the meantime at last count the Saudis, Egypt and Turkey are all looking to arm themselves with nukes, “just in case.”

To me, Chris, “the strategic picture” begins with the US racing for the exit. In this context, appeasing the region and escaping the consequences are just pieces of the puzzle. That hastily withdrawn naval flotilla occurred as the Russians also began bolstering their naval forces. Does that not smell of “retreat?” And reminds me of the flotilla Obama sent to block passage to an Iranian warship heading for the Canal [several years ago to show the flag in defiance of the US and] support to Assad in the Mediterranean. Manned by “cadets” the US naval flotilla backed off even though the ship(s) were thought to be carrying weapons for Syria, and the UN allowed the US to inspect the cargo! America’s retreat comes with significant consequences to the region, and the world. Such as a regional nuclear arms race:

The pushback against a nuclear deal between the six powers and Iran in Geneva Friday, Nov. 8 had many partners. Europe, Saudi Arabia, the Arab Emirates and Israel have bonded together against the Obama administration’s plans to mend US fences with Tehran in general and leave Iran with its nuclear components intact…”

Chris: I have access to US navy ship movements day by day. Your data is faulty. The Eisenhower was stationed in the Arabian golf and the red sea. It spent exactly one week in the Mediterranean, on its way from the red sea back to the US, it stopped in Marseille on its way to the US.

The Iwo Jima group is no match to the capabilities of the Syrian army, they were there for the objectives I stated. As a group they did not have any chance against the Syrian army. This was also the assessment of the Pentagon.

Regarding Debka, you will probably agree with me that it is not a very reliable source. As long as the anti-Semite Easton is the official EU representative, you can’t expect anything positive coming from her. Her objective is to make sure that Israel and the Jews are exterminated…

DT: Other services than Debka ran the story, Chris, including: Russia Times:… Islam Times:…

Geo-Strat (which boasts, “If it’s big, grey or green …and scary, it’s here” and tracks naval movements of military shipping around the world):

USS Eisenhower CSG (Dec 19) returns from Deployment (US Navy), USS Iwo Jima ARG (Dec 18) returns to Norfolk, deployment ends (US Navy)

And, “Although some officials say the USS Eisenhower is scheduled to return to port by the end of the month, her homecoming may be delayed based on the president’s recent statements regarding the conflict. President Barack Obama sent a stern warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a few days ago…

The Eisenhower went through the Suez Canal Dec. 1 and was off the coast of Syria the following Tuesday. Aboard the Eisenhower are eight fighter/attack squadrons with 8,000 Sailors. Alongside the Eisenhower is the Norfolk-based Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group carrying almost 3,000 Marines.

Chris: I will teach you something, it is dangerous to base your actions on what journalists write.

Below are the exact dates, locations and movements of the Eisenhower during 2012, this data is precise, as you can see the Eisenhower was at most one day near Syria (if at all)…

If you wish I can furnish you with the movements of the Iwo Jima (and any US navy ship you wish). I will never buy what Journalists or politicians spread at face value. Like I mentioned already, I base my opinions on actions and less on hot air.

DT: I do appreciate your efforts to keep me in the “right” direction, Chris, and fully agree with you regarding reliance of single-source sources for information. I assure I do a web-search for multiple sources in writing my blogs, and while its possible this may also arrive at viral disinformation, there are obvious limits to what any single individual can achieve (as the recent “60 Minutes”/CBS mishap demonstrates). In the present instance, tracking the Eisenhower, I believe yours and my sources agree. And by the way, is an interesting source. Apparently a private local news source based in the Navy community of Norfolk/Hampton Roads, Virginia, it provides information for Navy families regarding sea Navy traffic at sea for families at home. Not just your “average” political news source. According to Wavy.Com:

The Eisenhower went through the Suez Canal Dec. 1 and was off the coast of Syria the following Tuesday. Aboard the Eisenhower are eight fighter/attack squadrons with 8,000 Sailors. Alongside the Eisenhower is the Norfolk-based Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group carrying almost 3,000 Marines.”

The dates described are consistent with those you include for the Eisenhower passing the Suez Canal, present in the Mediterranean, and returning to Norfolk.

Chris: This allowed for one day to be in the vicinity of Syria, hardly a show of force.

DT: Not to belabor this, Chris. The original source re the Eisenhower, et al, indicated its mission was “show the flag to Assad.” The following day reports that Russia was augmenting its naval presence and the US flotilla was recalled. One can make of this whatever. And perhaps we could say that my “biases” are at play” but that’s what commentary is all about, no?

On the other hand, unless I am pathological, US actions in the region over the past eleven years DO SEEM CONSISTENT with my conclusions.

At any rate let us not throw the baby with the bath, etc: Some journalists are good sources, and I find Stratfor and, yes, Debka, more often on target than off.

About the Author
David made aliya in 1960 and has been active in Jewish issues since. He was a regional director for JNF in New York, created JUDAC, Jews United to Defend the Auschwitz Cemetery during that controversy; at the request of Jonathan Pollard created and led Justice for the Pollards in 1989.