In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Posts Tagged ‘Obama’s realist turn’

Obama abandons notion of moderate rebels in Syria

Posted by seumasach on June 23, 2014

He said there was no “ready-made moderate Syrian force that was able to defeat Assad”.

Obama: US arms could help defeat Assad is ‘fantasy’

BBC

21st June, 2014

President Obama has dismissed the idea that supplying US arms to Syrian rebels would have toppled President Assad, calling it a “fantasy”.

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Obama courting Iran for help in Iraq risks backlash

Posted by seumasach on June 17, 2014

Obama is certainly risking the ire of the Neo-Cons in engaging with Iran but he is doing so from what is regarded  as a strategic imperative: defeating Al-Qaida. It difficult for the Neo-Cons to argue with this and so they find themselves hoisted on their own petard

Bloomberg

17th June, 2014

President Barack Obama’s outreach to Iran to help thwart Sunni militants in Iraq may upset regional allies and risk a domestic political backlash.

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New Cold War or War onTerror?

Posted by seumasach on June 15, 2014

 

Cailean Bochanan

15th June, 2014

The betrayal of the Iraq army leadership facilitating last week’s capture of Mosul by the so-called ISIL may become a watershed in US foreign policy in providing a significant diversion from the Ukrainian fiasco and turning attention from quasi-cold war tensions towards the new Obama doctrine already outlined in his West Point speech, anticipated by Blair’s 23rd April speech and ratified by an intervention by Kofi Annan last week on BBC Newsnight.
What is this new doctrine? It is called, with great originality, the War on Terror. Thus, we return to 2001 and the post-9/11 doctrine but in a geo-political environment which has become completely transformed. In 2003 , on the eve of the Iraq War, the USA was still regarded as the undisputed global superpower, even though a resurgent Russia and China were already disputing that status. Today it has suffered a series of military reverses and the catastrophic state of its economy and society can longer be hidden. After the dismissal of Rumsfeld in 2006 in a palace coup the stage was set for Obama to turn around US foreign policy in the aftermath of the failed Iraq and Afghan wars. He is generally regarded as having failed in this respect and that judgement has seemed to have been confirmed by the dramatic events of the last week. We appear to be condemned to relive the historical cycle of US military intervention.
But, as I say, the context is completely different. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan post-9/11 were the beginning of a global war for hegemony. This war failed and no such perspectives are in sight for a severely weakened USA. Rather than being the opening shot in an attempted roll-back of Russian and Chinese power War on Terror II could lead to a re-engagement of these two emerging superpowers by Washington. Tony Blair’s above-mentioned speech already prefigures this development:

“In this speech I will set out how we should do this, including the recognition that on this issue, whatever our other differences, we should be prepared to reach out and cooperate with the East, and in particular, Russia and China.”
This was followed up by Kofi Anna’s call for a de facto alliance with Russia , China and Iran:
“Mr Annan – the UN’s former envoy to Syria – said he did not believe that there was the “stomach” for “boots on the ground”, but that a group made up of permanent members of the UN Security Council, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey and possibly Egypt could agree a common approach.”
Already, the ISIL surge has raised a prospect that was previously unthinkable: joint US-Iranian military co-operation.
I have, for some time, been talking up a strategic alliance between Washington and Moscow as the great paradigm shift in global geo-politics. It was, admittedly, difficult to see how such a shift could come about. Indeed, the failure of Obama’s reset was just another amongst a litany of seeming failures. But if that remains a strategic goal of Obama, and I believe that it must, then War on TerrorII would be the key to its realization.

The roller-coaster unleashed by the Arab spring continues. The events in Iraq last week serve as a cover for the surreal Ukraine fiasco, which in turn obscured defeat in the Syrian war which in turn diverted the world’s attention from the chaos engendered in Libya by NATO intervention. Since the hand of the NATO and Western intelligence assets is clearly present in all these scenarios you might think Obama’s strategy is merely to cover failure with even more failure. But their may be a different logic at play,a convoluted logic of end of empire. If so, the cycle may be broken in Iraq and by the time the ISIL has been checked we may see the clear outlines of a new international order.

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In Europe, Obama to explain his Russia policy

Posted by seumasach on June 1, 2014

Those of the frontiers of empire are the first to get wind of a faint-heartedness at the centre. We saw this with the loyalist response to the Anglo-Irish agreement in 1986. Obama, as head of US military, has no intention of confronting Russia: as head of the empire he must reassure his allies before retreat turns into rout. Already Turkey and Qatar are flipping towards the rising power of the East and the SCO. Obama’s best bet is a controlled disengagement from empire accompanied by a incremental engagement with Russia and China; a difficult manoeuver fraught with danger.

In Europe, Obama gets second chance to explain his Russia policy

Trust

1st June, 2014

WASHINGTON, June 1 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama heads to Warsaw, Brussels, Paris and Normandy this week where he is expected to elaborate on the U.S. commitment to counter Russian moves against Ukraine and reassure nervous allies the United States has their backs.

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Goodbye Afghanistan, hello Asia-Pacific

Posted by seumasach on May 28, 2014

A good analysis with the proviso that the Asia pivot itself amounts to nothing:

The US pivot: Rebalancing as retreat

Jim Lobe

Asia Times

28th May, 2014

WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama announced Tuesday his intention to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016. In a statement from the White House Rose Garden, Obama said he expects to reduce US troops levels from the roughly 32,000 which remain there now to 9,800 by the end of this year, and to cut that number by about half by the end of 2015. 

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The audacious Mr Putin

Posted by seumasach on May 25, 2014

Cailean Bochanan

25th May, 2014

Prince Charles is only the lunatic fringe of so many in the West who like to characterize Vladimir Putin as a ruthless and ambitious dictator hell-bent on his goal of refounding the Soviet Union. But if he is ruthless and ambitious why would he limit himself to such a mediocre and fruitless goal?
His latest statements as reported by RT deserve careful attention:
“I really would not like to think that this is a beginning of a new Cold War,” he said speaking with the heads of the world media at St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. “I think this is not going to happen.”
As for the Western sanctions against Russia, “I think that they are absolutely counterproductive, not based on a fair attitude to existing problems, and driven by a desire to impose on Russia international relations developments that do not correspond either with international law or with mutual interests. They certainly do not correspond with Russian interests,” Putin said.
Isolation of Russia is “impossible,” Putin stressed, adding that there is a “mutual dependence” between Russia with both the US and EU.
Not only is there no hint here of the reconstitution of the Soviet sphere but there is no suggestion of the much-touted turn from the West towards an Eastern alliance. The truth is that Putin, as a man of great ambition, is not reckoning on having to choose between East and West, between the BRICS and the US and EU: he aims to choose both.
A little thought shows that a mere Russia-China(BRICS) alliance is inadequate from the point of view of Russian interests. The strategic tensions with the West would remain unresolved and would continue to distort Russia’s internal development. Excessive and badly required resources would continue to be poured into defense to counter threats such as missile defense and ongoing NATO destabilization programs. Russia’s natural trading relations with Europe , especially Germany, would be disrupted. This would be far from the win/win scenario so wished for and so required.
The holy grail for Putin is a strategic partnership with Washington. This is not only of mutual interest but the key to the historic imperative of ending war, hot or cold. It may appear to be a laughable goal given the current media-generated anti-Russian frenzy but let us hope that deeper trends are at work and that the coming collapse of the US economy is focusing Obama’s mind marvelously and that he is coming to see a strategic partnership with those hitherto presumed to be America’s enemies as a drowning man sees his rescuers.
Of course, the obstacles to such a resolution are great. The death of an empire whose tentacles are everywhere is a prolonged and obscure agony. The hydra has many heads and there are countless agendas which have been heavily invested in: five billion dollars, apparently, in the current Ukraine fiasco alone. But I suspect Russia have strategic depth in Ukraine and that the new president, Poroshenko, will be a disappointment to the West’s war party.
With a diplomatic solution in sight in Ukraine and the West’s contras in retreat in Syria and Venezuela the air will begin to clear, the smoke of war to dissipate and the two most prominently left standing will be Putin and Obama. Certainly, next to Putin’s grandmaster role, Obama cuts a rather forlorn figure but in his role of commander -in-chief he has recognized the unwillingness of the US military, as opposed to the various agencies, to engage in further futile and destructive war. This was the minimum required of him and he has duly delivered(touch wood!).
We will then see that there is no contradiction between the Eurasian Union( the economic reunification of the post-Soviet space), the Lisbon to Vladivostok economic space(hopefully, we might be allowed in too, once Prince Charles has apologized) and strategic partnerships between the US and the BRICS. This is the win/win scenario, nothing short of the unification of humanity itself and the only scenario worth the audacity of hoping for.

Posted in Coup d'état in Ukraine | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama resets the ‘pivot’ to Asia

Posted by seumasach on May 13, 2014

The heart of the matter is that paradigm shifts often take time to sink in. There is a shift in the US foreign policies taking place under the Obama presidency, which is away from its ‘militarization’. David Sanger of the New York Times recently wrote, “Obama acknowledges, at least in private conversations that he is managing an era of American retrenchment.” 

M.K.Bhadrakumar

Asia Times

9th May, 2014

The dust has settled down sooner than one would have thought on the US President Barack Obama’s four-nation Asia tour, and the inevitable stocktaking is well under way. Obama earmarked an entire week for the trip that took him to Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. 

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Prince Bandar steps down

Posted by seumasach on April 19, 2014

Under pressure from John Kerry, he was divested of the Syria dossier in February 2014.

Voltairenet

17th April, 2014

Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has, by royal decree, been relieved of his duties as national security adviser and director of Saudi intelligence services. According to the national news agency, the decision was made “at his request.”

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Europe dragged into a division of the world between debtors and creditors: the United States’ desperate solutions for not sinking alone

Posted by seumasach on April 18, 2014

A new cold war led by the USA has become a fashionable theme. However, core US diplomacy has consistently contradicted such a scenario. The USA, more than Europe, needs to reach out to the BRICS for its own salvation. The problem is that vested interests, the imperial state if you like, continue to rely on a strategy of geopolitical tension. But the CIA, the neo-cons, the Israel lobby, the Military Industrial Complex and their congressional representatives have emerged from the fiascos in Syria, Venezuela and Ukraine embittered and weakened. This should enable Obama to pursue policies in accord with US national interests whereby US retreat from empire is rewarded by inward investment from China and others. For that surplus to be available a new motor of global development must emerge which can only be the Eurasian economic space from Shanghai to Lisbon. The resolution of the Ukrainian crisis, the first step of which was completed at Geneva yesterday, will facilitate this happy development. Certainly Russia and China are emerging as leading global players but their prime goal is geo-strategic partnership with the USA. By an agonised path Obama is positioning himself to reciprocate

LEAP 2020

17th April, 2014

In the present confrontation between Russia and the West over the Ukrainian crisis, the image of the Cold War inevitably comes to mind and the media are obviously fond of it. However, contrary to what it gives us to understand, it’s not Russia that seeks the return of an iron curtain but really the US. An iron curtain separating the old powers and emerging nations; the world before and the world afterwards; debtors and creditors. And this in the crazy hope of preserving the American way of life and the US’ influence over “its” camp in the absence of being able to impose it on the whole world. In other words, go down with as many companions as possible to give the impression of not sinking. 

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Kerry clashes with Pentagon over Syria

Posted by seumasach on April 8, 2014

John Kerry, U.S. Military Clash on Approach to Syria’s Rebels

Wall Street Journal

7th April, 2014

WASHINGTON—Frustrated by the stalemate in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerryhas been pushing for the U.S. military to be more aggressive in supporting the country’s rebel forces. Opposition has come from the institution that would spearhead any such effort: the Pentagon.

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U.S. response to Crimea worries Japan

Posted by seumasach on April 6, 2014

Seattle Times

5th April, 2014

U.S. officials have distanced themselves from the Budapest Memorandum in light of Russia’s takeover of Crimea, calling promises made in Budapest “nonbinding.”

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Posted in Coup d'état in Ukraine, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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