Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld
January 6, 2014
If recent events are any indication, the pace of US withdrawal from the world and the extent of our fecklessness (and the West's generally) in the face of threats coming from Islamist terrorism, Russia, China, and Iran promises to pick up in 2014. Something new pops up every day.
Al Qaeda and its various affiliates have made a great leap forward in Syria and Iraq, where they took over Fallujah. The Obama administration did not react apparently because it no longer sees al Qaeda as a threat. If Ramadi falls as well, there's unlikely to be a response then either.
The fact that Syria has missed its chemical weapons removal deadline is largely ignored or excused by "unfavorable" weather and other "difficulties" to transport the chemicals for shipment. The Syrian civil war is being spread with Iran's blessing, as is growing Saudi intervention into Lebanon, without apparent attention from Washington.
Iran's growing involvement in Syria and Lebanon, upgrading of Hezbollah's missiles, which increases the threat to Israel, and assassinations of Lebanese Sunni leaders who dare to criticize Iran, fail to draw Washington's attention.
On nearly every foreign policy front, except the utterly fatuous and doomed promotion of Israeli-Palestinian peace, the US is either doing very little, if at all or backtracking.
Washington keeps mostly mum as to the status of the ballyhooed negotiations with Iran, while Tehran continues to issue often contradicting messages and threatens new uranium-enrichment if it doesn't get what the West said it would get at the Geneva meetings last Fall. Meanwhile, the sanctions regime is quickly disappearing and our European friends are energetically pursuing business and investments there, while travel industry leaders even picked Iran as one of the top-ten tourist attractions for 2014.
While Obama plays golf in Hawaii, the Benghazi affair is being attended to by his media accomplice, the New York Times, which has published a lengthy whitewash of the administration's responsibility that contradicts well-documented facts and conclusions. This, apparently, was done also to advance Hillary's presidential ambitions.
The latest example of backtracking comes in a report that the Obama administration is refusing to enforce the Congressional "Magnitsky" legislation the president signed to sanction Russian rights abusers. And for now, no more protestation of Putin's suppression of human rights and his anti-American diatribes.
Yet, Congress and the public remain generally in denial about threats to world peace and stability-threats that will surely affect Americans both physically and economically. Our leaders refuse to speak about the growing Islamist threat or Iran's aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean. The White House ignores the depredations of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, as well as Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist destabilization of democratic Turkey, and Chinese threats to US cyber security and our allies in the East and South China seas go unnoticed.
Why is this happening? Some blame the global economic problems that have unfolded since 2007 as the reason behind the US taking the back seat. Others blame American politics and a total absence of foreign policy leadership within and outside the administration. To make things worse, the American and most Western media have totally abdicated their function as a Fourth Estate and now merely report gossip and whatever those in power want us to believe.
However, if recent polls showing that the public has lost its trust in government are correct, perhaps the realities of 2014 will force Congress – and even the media (sans the New York Times) - to slow the administration's efforts to abandon traditional and unique American values and halt its pursuit to degrade the US influence in the world.
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