‘While the video was at times confusing, the briefing corroborated earlier administration accounts of attempts to provide military back-up on the evening of the attack. The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that CIA director Mike Morell testified that his agency did not request lethal military assistance like special operations teams, platoons of specialized Marines, or armed predator drones.’
Bureaucracy in action?
What isn’t clear to me is the overall Middle-East strategy, and how well it’s being executed, come what may here. Obama seems to be operating partially under a liberal internationalist doctrine; aiming to get a plurality if not a majority of Americans, and a vast majority of Muslims where he wants them to be, which is not necessarily where they are now: Bound under international law, courts, and a community of nations. This Western vision attempts to direct and subsume American power to these ends and tries to appeal to the Muslim on the street and offer carrots and sticks to Muslim nations. I suspect this is why we saw the apology tour during the riots, and the potential playing down of the Benghazi affair (if something worse hasn’t happened).
-Walter Russell Mead had an interesting piece about this doctrine a few years ago.
In practice for Obama, this has led to a real gap between his vision and many of his actions. He has continued and extended many of Bush’s policies on wiretapping and enemy combatants to deal with the threat at home and abroad. He’s admittedly set a timeline for Iraq and also a timeline in Afghanistan after his surge there, and undergone a dramatic escalation in drone strikes in Afpak and Yemen (Al Qaida is likely returning to AfPak as we speak, and disrupting them is still our objective which he never discusses as he just counts on the base to turn out).
It has meant helping to overthrow Gadhafi without Congressional approval and admittedly much more cheaply and without boots on the ground, helping France and Britain maintain their own backyard and oil supply, and making a kind of client state which is still volatile with extremists around as Benghazi showed. It remains to be seen what will happen there, and Libyans have a long way to go after the tyrant, wherever they’re headed. Our security may still be at risk.
It has meant assisting in the “Arab Spring” (I’ve still got my hand on my wallet). It has meant questionable leadership on Syria where a civil war is likely occurring. There were few to no good options, but possibly a few worse ones by waiting for the U.N.. putting any faith in Russian interests in the region, and waiting for Iran to play power games and Turkey, the Kurds, and Lebanon to become more enflamed. It has meant sanctioning Iran heavily and apparently still not preventing them from getting closer to having nuclear capabilities. On Israel, and the escalating tensions with Hamas, the seemingly intractable claims to the land, and the existential threat one of our closest allies faces, it remains to be seen what Obama will do.
It’s still not clear where the rise of Islamism is headed, and doubtful that America can really succeed on the back of this doctrine, given the fact that our public support in the region is still abysmally and unsurprisingly low.
Feel free to highlight my ignorance. Any thoughts and comments are welcome, as it’s not clear to me where there’s anything near a majority or strong plurality of people in any Muslim country who want freedom and democracy as the West defines them, and was ready on their own for the demands and sacrifices required to build institutions which maintain such freedom and democracy.
Related On This Site: Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’
Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest Online: ‘Obama’s War’…From The WSJ: “Allies Rally To Stop Gadhafi”…From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And Pakistan…From The New Yorker: ‘How Qaddafi Lost Libya’…
The modern State awaits, with a more efficient bureaucratic class overcoming the corruption and earning the public trust here in the West?: Francis Fukuyama At The American Interest-’The Two Europes’
Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’…Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’…Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others…