U.S. Position in the Middle East Continues to Decline

While President Barack Obama and his would-be successor Hillary Clinton try to convince the American people that everything is fine in regards to the U.S. position in the world and the security of the nation; foreign adversaries are celebrating what they see as the country’s decline. For example, an August 18 editorial in Global Times, the official media outlet of China’s ruling Communist Party, proclaimed “US suffers new setback in Middle East.” The column hailed its axis partner Russia for basing long-range bombers in Iran to attack targets in Syria in support of the regime of Bashar Assad. It is official Washington policy to remove Assad from power to end Syria’s civil war, but Russian and Iranian military intervention has thwarted the half-hearted, slow-motion effort of the Obama administration to aid the Sunni rebels. “More sadly for Washington” continues the Chinese editorial, “Iraq also consented to the passing-through of Russian military aircraft under some symbolic limits.” This is not surprising given that U.S. policy has allowed Baghdad to become a Shiite satrap of Iran. Though this error goes back to the Bush administration, Obama’s withdrawal of all American troops in 2011 allowed the Iraq regime to openly embrace Tehran.

The Chinese editorial ended with the statement, “The old pattern and order is gone in the Middle East, where the US has lost its leverage. From the perspective of the region, the US is declining. Moscow, however, has gained the upper hand.” This change in the balance of power has occurred entirely during the Obama administration, for part of which Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State.

The same can be said about Iran’s stronger position in the region. In has gone beyond sending its terrorist army Hezbollah from Lebanon into Syria. Its own troops are now fighting there as well. It could afford to escalate its war effort because of the generous grant of funds from the U.S. as part of the nuclear agreement which slows (but does not end) Tehran’s strategic weapons program. In the long run, the Shiite theocracy still wants nuclear arms to safeguard its regional dominance. At the moment, however, it sorely needs resources to gain that dominance. It must win the war in Syria and overawe its Arab neighbors.

The Russian state-owned “international” media outlet RT (which broadcasts in English, Arabic and Spanish) reported on August 16, “Beijing and Damascus have agreed that the Chinese military will provide humanitarian aid to Syria, a high-ranking People’s Liberation Army officer said, adding that the training of Syrian personnel by Chinese instructors has also been discussed.” The Director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission, Guan Youfei, arrived in Damascus on August 16 for talks with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij. Guan also reportedly met with Russian military officers during his visit. Chinese political expert Qin Duo Xu told RT, “If you look at the Chinese media, Chinese public opinion, [you will see] that [the] absolute majority is siding with the Syrian government and support[s] Russian military involvement.” Beijing had already been giving some aid to the Assad regime, but now feels more confident about the direction of events. It can, thus, be more overt in its actions. It is in China’s strategic interests to get involved in the Syrian crisis and “play a larger role” in resolving it, Hong Kong based Chinese consultant Andrew Leung told RT. “This is really a breakthrough in China’s strategies in the Middle East. There appears to be more coordination with countries, like Russia…China sees itself as one of the great powers.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. has allowed its nuclear arsenal to fall some 30% below what the 2010 agreement allows. This policy of unilateral disarmament is reminiscent of American naval policy before World war II when it also allowed its forces to drop below what was permitted by that era’s arms control agreements. Japan cheated on the agreements and then pulled out of them entirely in 1934; prompting President Franklin Roosevelt to agree to build up to (but only up to) the then irrelevant limits which Japan was openly exceeding. Tokyo came to believe it had narrowed the military gap sufficiently that a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor would swing the balance of power decisively in its favor. The result was another world war. Liberal Democrat Obama is making the same mistake as isolationist Republicans made during the interwar years. Obama believes that other leaders would follow him down the road of peace if he leads by example in cutting military forces and espousing appeasement. Events have proven him terribly wrong.

Full article: U.S. Position in the Middle East Continues to Decline (Family Security Matters)

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