Obama's Middle East legacy: A catastrophic humanitarian crisis
By Mark Alexander
There has been a lot of heated and well-deserved debate about the illegal migration across our southern border — most of those migrants seeking economic opportunities, and most ending up costing American taxpayers far more than any economic benefit. Indeed, they are pouring across that border because Barack Obama has opened the flood gates, fervently hoping that these illegal immigrants and their relatives here will prop up the Democratic Party in perpetuity.
Today, there is another mass migration underway, which is also the direct result of, and irrevocably tied to, another of Obama's cynical political calculations.
For the past week, the media has served up a steady stream of heart-wrenching images and stories about refugees fleeing Islamist terror in the Middle East. That coverage was sparked by an image of a drowned three-year-old washed up on a Turkish beach, but the fact is more than 2,000 refugees have drowned in the exodus. There are now almost five million people exiting Syria and other nations in the region, and another six million remain displaced internally.
But, of course, the media fails to report what gave rise to this crisis.
The hard truth is that Obama's ill-advised withdrawal from Iraq, an asinine re-election campaign ploy, left a power vacuum in the heart of the Middle East. That void was rapidly filled by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant as Syria collapsed into civil war.
Obama's politically motivated malfeasance has created an epic humanitarian crisis.
My Special Forces contacts on the ground there right now, all of whom are seasoned OIF and OEF veterans, understand well the causal relationship between the Obama/Clinton policy failures, the rise of Islamist fascism and the resulting humanitarian crisis.
My contacts refer to the largest of the refugee sites on the Jordanian border as "Camp Obama," and dubbed another massive site "Camp Red Line" in reference to Obama's faux threats against Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad.
Some Leftmedia outlets have hinted at the chain of evidence directly linking Obama to the crisis, but most are adopting Hillary's "What difference does it make?" refrain. The difference is accountability.
Last week, Fred Hiatt, editor of The Washington Post's editorial page, offered an honest, accurate and scornful indictment of Obama's policy failures in the region.
More on that in a minute, but first, how is it that babies are now washing up on beaches?
By way of quick review, in 2008, Obama campaigned successfully on "ending the war in Iraq." Not only did he dupe a sufficient percentage of the American people, he duped the leftist Norwegian Nobel Committee into bestowing upon this completely unknown foreign policy neophyte its once-noble Nobel Peace Prize for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people."
In 2011, opting for his now infamous "Obama Doctrine of appeasement" instead of capitalizing on George W. Bush's successful "surge" strategy and establishing a status of forces agreement (SOFA) to secure our hard-won gains in Iraq and the region, Obama decided to abandon Iraq. He declared, "Everything Americans have done in Iraq — all the fighting, all the dying, the bleeding, the building and the training and the partnering — all of it has led to this moment of success. … We're leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq."
In 2012, amid the cascading failure of his domestic economic and social policies, Obama centered his re-election campaign on his faux foreign policy successes, which were crafted around the mantras, "Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. I did," and, "al-Qa'ida is on the run." And again, he duped voters into re-electing him, with a little help from Hillary Clinton's Benghazi Cover-Up.
Predictably, Obama's "hope and change" retreat from the region left fertile ground for the resurgence of a far more dangerous incarnation of Islamic terror that calls itself the Islamic State. IS rapidly displaced al-Qa'ida as the dominant asymmetric threat to security in the region and, thus, to our own national security.
Remember Obama's much-touted "Arab Spring"? The sprawling Middle East meltdown is now one hard reality of his amateur ventures into foreign policy. And the resulting influx of millions of primarily Muslim refugees is not only a significant security risk, but also will put an enormous strain on Europe's failing economy.
So, how's that Nobel Peace Prize working out for ya?
In answer to that rhetorical question, let me offer a few insights from the aforementioned Fred Hiatt at The Washington Post.
Hiatt writes, "This may be the most surprising of President Obama's foreign-policy legacies: not just that he presided over a humanitarian and cultural disaster of epochal proportions, but that he soothed the American people into feeling no responsibility for the tragedy. Starvation in Biafra a generation ago sparked a movement. Synagogues and churches a decade ago mobilized to relieve misery in Darfur. When the Taliban in 2001 destroyed ancient statues of Buddha at Bamiyan, the world was appalled at the lost heritage. Today the Islamic State is blowing up precious cultural monuments in Palmyra, and half of all Syrians have been displaced. More than a quarter-million have been killed."
"Surprising"? Actually, the emergence of some tyrannical entity to fill the power void created by Obama's retreat was entirely predictable — and predicted. Military writers since the time of Sun Tzu have understood that power does not tolerate a vacuum. In this case, the Islamic State filled the vacuum, and the consequences, visceral but still seemingly a distant shore away, are rapidly approaching the U.S. homeland.
Hiatt would have done better to write that Obama has not just presided over a disaster of epochal proportions, but that the Obama administration itself has proven to be an epic disaster, and one notable outcome is this humanitarian catastrophe.
Hiatt laments that, even given our critical national security interests in the region, America has ignored the crisis. "Obama — who ran for president on the promise of restoring the United States' moral stature — has constantly reassured Americans that doing nothing is the smart and moral policy. ... Perversely, the worse Syria became, the more justified the president seemed for staying aloof."
But Hiatt fails short of connecting the dots between Obama's 2012 campaign promises and the abandonment of Iraq and Syria. He does admit, however, "When Obama pulled all U.S. troops out of Iraq, critics worried there would be instability."
That is wholly understated.
So what is Obama doing now?
I received two Obama "Demo Dump" emails last week. The first was entitled, "What We're Doing for the Next Few Days." No mention of refugees, but a lot of first class flights and accommodations around the nation at taxpayer expense.
The second was entitled, "Lessons We Should Learn from the Iraq War." No, it made no mention of refugees or the connection between their plight and Obama's failed policies.
Instead, it was a promo piece for the Iran deal: "What have you learned from the Iraq war? Some, it is clear, have learned disturbingly little. ... This deal with Iran ... represents a higher form of renewed American leadership. ... Our generation has charted a new course for the future. Embracing tough, principled diplomacy as a first resort is the best way forward for our nation and the world."
"Tough, principled diplomacy"? Remember all those "tough UN Resolutions," including the final unanimous Resolution 1441 prior to the invasion of Iraq, offering Saddam Hussein "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations"? That opportunity had previously been offered in Resolution 660, Resolution 661, Resolution 678, Resolution 686, Resolution 687, Resolution 688, Resolution 707, Resolution 715, Resolution 986 and Resolution 1284.
Now ask yourself, "How many times has Iran defied such 'tough diplomacy'?"
Apparently Obama has "learned disturbingly little" from his policy of appeasement. He advanced a faux dichotomy, deal or war, when strengthening sanctions already in place was, and remains, the most obvious solution.
But now that the Senate Democrats have blocked opposition to Obama's "treaty" with Iran, he is endeavoring to pivot his defining legacy from humanitarian disaster to what he insists is a "great deal" preventing Iran nukes.
Make no mistake: The epic humanitarian crisis resulting from Obama's failed Mid-East policies will prove minor by comparison to the catastrophic potential of Obama's "Iran Nuke Deal." Of course, he is leaving the resolution of those consequences to the Israeli Defense Forces.
And on a final note: In all fairness, Obama alone should not bear the whole burden of babies washing up on beaches. That responsibility is equally shared by all those sycophantic "useful idiots" who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012.
In the words of Noah Webster, "[I]f the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted..." Indeed, when that government is the sole global superpower, by extension the entire world will soon be corrupted.
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.