"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt


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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Jordan Warming Relationship with Iran, After Warning of Iran's Growing Influence Ignored by US

I missed this story from December 12...

From the Associated Press:

"Jordan's King Abdullah II on Sunday said he is seeking 'practical steps' for improving his country's frosty relations with Iran.

"The monarch's appeal contrasted with his regime's frequent criticism of Iran's policies.

"Abdullah made the appeal for better ties during a meeting with Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, the director of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's office, according to an official Jordanian statement. It said Abdullah was invited to visit Teheran.

"As early as 2004, Abdullah warned of Iran's growing influence in Iraq and the rest of the region.

"In US cables released by WikiLeaks, US diplomats were quoted as saying Jordan warned that Iranian influence could undermine American interests and moderate nations like Jordan, an ally of the US."

That last paragraph is the especially annoying part for me. The US has been repeatedly warned of the growing threat of Iran and Islamic extremism. The response has been to either ignore the problem, or to bleat out that all Muslims are extremist. These absolutely ineffective responses have made the world in general, and the Middle East in particular, a far more unstable and dangerous place in the past six years or so.

Caroline Glick has an excellent analysis, and I highly recommend you read it in its entirety.

From Glick's op-ed "Slouching Toward Tehran":

"Abdullah was one of the first world leaders to sound the alarm on Iran. In 2004 Abdullah warned of a 'Shiite crescent' extending from Iran to Iraq, through Syria to Lebanon. His words were well reported at the time. But his warning went unheeded.

"In the intervening six years, reality has surpassed Abdullah's worst fears. Not only Lebanon and Syria have fallen under Iranian control. Iraq, Turkey, Qatar, Gaza and increasingly Oman, Yemen and Afghanistan are also either willing or unwilling members of the axis.

"In the face of Iran's expanding web of influence and the mullahs' steady progress towards nuclear capability, Washington behaves as though there is no cause for concern. And the likes of Jordan are beside themselves.

"In a WikiLeaks leaked cable from April 2009 written by US Ambassador to Jordan R. Stephen Beecroft, Jordan's frustration and concern over the Obama administration's incompetence in handling the Iranian threat was clear.

"Beecroft wrote, 'Jordan's leaders are careful not to be seen as dictating toward the US, but their comments betray a powerful undercurrent of doubt that the United States knows how to deal effectively with Iran.'

"On the one hand, Jordanian Senator Zaid Rifai beseeched US to bomb Iran's nuclear installations. Rifai said, 'Bomb Iran, or live with an Iranian bomb. Sanctions, carrots, incentives won't matter.'

"But on the other hand, the Jordanians recognized that the Obama administration was committed to appeasing Iran and so tried to convince the Americans to ensure that their appeasement drive didn't come at the Arabs' expense.

"Beecroft reported a clear warning from Abdullah. Abdullah cautioned that if the Arabs believe that the US was appeasing Iran at their expense, 'that engagement will set off a stampede of Arab states looking to get ahead of the curve and reach their own separate peace with Teheran.'

[...]

"And since then, the Obama administration did nothing after Ahmadinejad and his henchmen stole the presidential election. It did nothing as they repressed the tens of millions of Iranians who demonstrated against the election fraud. The Obama administration did nothing as Iran conducted repeated war games along the Straits of Hormuz, progressed in its nuclear program, deepened its military alliances with Turkey and Venezuela and escalated its proxy war against the US and its allies in Afghanistan.

"The Americans said nothing as Iran prevented the pro-US faction that won the Iraqi election from forming a government. They did nothing as Iran forced the reinstallation of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki despite his electoral defeat.

"As Washington stood idly by in the face of Iran's aggression, Jordan and the other US-allied Arab states watched as Obama harassed Israel, announced his plan to withdraw all US forces from Iraq next year, appointed a new ambassador to Syria and approved more military aid to the Iranian-controlled Lebanese army. And Abdullah and the other Arabs watch now as the US is poised to begin yet a new round of appeasement talks with Iran next month.

"Unlike the previous failed rounds of talks, the next failed round of talks will take place in Turkey. Iranian officials are already exulting that Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan will act as Iran's protector in those talks, and so officially end any semblance of Iranian diplomatic isolation on the nuclear issue.

"And so, just as Abdullah warned would happen, today he is leading Jordan into the ranks of 'countries without a backbone,' and making a separate peace with Ahmadinejad.

"Jordan is a weak country. Its minority Hashemite regime has failed to dominate its Palestinian majority. And since its inception by the British in 1946, Jordan has depended on Western powers and Israel for its survival.

"In acting as he is, Abdullah is following in his father's footsteps. The late King Hussein survived by watching the prevailing winds closely and always siding with the side he believed was strongest at any given time."

So many Americans simply do not understand the intricacies of Middle East politics, writing off Muslims as a single monolithic group (often intent on the destruction of the Western world), and write off the Israelis as a single monolithic group from whom all American troubles in the Mid-East extend.

The world is filled of political pragmatists. That's one of the first bits of knowledge that needs to be understood in international relations. It's not a universal rule, but it should be the default until proven otherwise.

It was ridiculous to believe that Obama's incessant and inauthentic apologies, fawning bows, and promises that the US will not act unilaterally would result into anything but significant (and needless) pressure on American allies, or countries sympathetic to the West. It fixed nothing except for the American Left's fragile egos.

All this so Obama and the Left can feel better about themselves... American narcissism like that is expensive, and comes at far too high a price for the rest of the world.

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