Flashpoints

By withdrawing American leadership around the globe, President Obama has purposely undermined geopolitical stability and created multiple global flashpoints threatening to erupt into war.

The situation between Saudi Arabia and Iran is rapidly escalating to the point of war, with Saudi Arabia executing a prominent Shiite cleric and his followers for fomenting dissent, and Iran responding by burning the Saudi Embassy and forcing the withdrawal of diplomats from a number of Sunni Muslim countries allied with Saudi Arabia. It is instructive to recall exactly how these two belligerents went from business associates as members of OPEC to adversaries in a potential Mideast war.

Saudi Arabia is the preeminent representative of the Sunni branch of Islam and controls two of Islam’s most holy sites at Mecca and Medina. The Saudi royal family promotes a most virulent form of Sunni Islam know as Wahhabism which it funds in the form of schools and mosques around the world. The House of Saud relies on its vast oil wealth to placate its populace with generous benefits that assist in keeping the dissent to a minimum. Those who persist in their dissent against the royal family and its absolute control over the Arabian kingdom are dealt with by secret police which rigidly enforce order in the country. As the largest oil producer in OPEC, Saudi Arabia has considerable sway in their production capability to influence oil prices and enforce compliance among OPEC members.

Prior to President Obama, the United States maintained a foreign policy in the Mideast which favored the Sunni Muslim countries and their dictatorial leaders who tended to keep the radical Muslim sects under control. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was instrumental in keeping the radical Muslim Brotherhood under control and enjoyed America’s favor during his tenure. America benefitted from this arrangement through access to the vast oil reserves of the Mideast and from the clampdown on Muslim radicals which prevented them from growing large enough to be a threat to the United States.

Those of us who were around at the time remember when America enjoyed cordial relations with Iran under the Shah whom America protected as leader. In a moment of spectacular ineptitude, President Jimmy Carter withdrew American support for the Shah of Iran over concerns of his humanitarian record from controlling the radicals agitating for regime change in Iran. As a consequence, the Shah was eventually forced to abdicate and flee the country resulting in the radical Ayatollah Khomeini returning from exile in France to assume control of the country. In a most humiliating act, students overran the American Embassy and took Americans hostage while President Carter was left to helplessly dither in search of an appropriate reaction. His one attempt to free the hostages with military force proved to be an embarrassing disaster, and the hostages were left to the mercy of their captors as Americans were constantly reminded of their incarceration on the nightly news.

President Carter’s withdrawal of American support for the Shah sent a clear message to the Mideast and the world that America could no longer be trusted to support its allies who risked their positions to align with America. This was the single act that can be traced back as the root cause of all the trouble America currently experiences in the Mideast. President Obama exacerbated this lack of trust by withdrawing support from the entire Sunni bloc to pivot American foreign policy to the Shiite Muslims centered in Iran who were our bitter enemies from the 1970s.

This foreign policy pivot resulted in the fabled Arab Spring which saw numerous Sunni leaders toppled, and unleashed the forces of radical sects itching to foment a restructuring of the entire region. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even went to war to topple Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi so they could seize his cache of weapons and redirect them to the rebels opposing Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Initially opposing Assad’s rule of Syria, the Obama administration has recently signaled Russian President Vladimir Putin through Secretary of State John Kerry that it no longer requires Assad’s removal as Syria’s president. President Obama’s constant switching of sides in the Mideast has destroyed any credibility America ever had in the region and led it to the precipice of war. The Mideast is now a flashpoint thanks to one inept Democrat president and one radical Democrat president committed to destabilization.

After World War II, America waged a decades-long Cold War with the Soviet Union to prevent the spread of communism it and its client states foisted upon unwilling peoples through their military domination. America went to war in Korea and Vietnam while resisting the communist menace through multiple actions that remain unknown to most Americans. President Ronald Reagan ushered in the demise of the Soviet Union with his restoration of America from the disastrous tenure of President Carter. Reagan revitalized the American economy with his supply-side economics vision realized through tax cuts which spurred the America economy into the greatest expansionary period in American history. Americans recovered from the malaise of the Carter years and outpaced the Soviet Union until it could no longer keep up. Reagan’s announcement of the Strategic Missile Defense Shield was the straw that broke the Soviet camel’s back as Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev realized that the Soviet Union could not possibly compete militarily against such a system.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the former Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern Europe were reintegrated with Europe with several becoming members of NATO. Russia was reduced to a shadow of its former self as it sought western help to deal with its vast nuclear arsenal and it struggled to embrace the free enterprise economics it had shunned for so long. Boris Yeltsin managed to maneuver his way through the dicey Russian political scene to emerge as Russian president with relatively unknown Vladimir Putin eventually as his Prime Minister, and a new era of American and Russian cooperation saw the former Cold War enemies working together as the old animosities melted away.

Vladimir Putin navigated his way to the top of Russian politics and entrenched himself in power reminiscent of the old dictators of the Soviet Union. Exploiting President Obama’s withdrawal of American leadership from the geopolitical scene, Putin has expanded Russia’s presence to fill the vacuum and reestablish Russia as an influential power with which to be reckoned. Estonia felt Putin’s flexing of muscle as Russia conducted a cyberwar exercise which brought the country to a standstill and demonstrated the military potential of cyberwarfare. Putin then turned his attention to former Warsaw Pact member Georgia by seizing a sizable portion of its territory in a conflict ginned up on auspicious pretenses. The muted responses from America emboldened Putin to continue his expansion drive by first destabilizing Crimea and using the resulting political turmoil as an excuse to invade and seize the country for integration into the Russian Federation.

President Obama has been both unable and unwilling to effectively respond to Putin’s acts of aggression having ceded America’s leadership role in world affairs to focus on his own destabilization of America. Europe is left on its own to resist Putin’s expansionary appetite as the Cold War slowly creeps back into view. Eastern Europe is once again a flashpoint on the brink of war thanks to President Obama’s deliberate withdrawal of American leadership from the region.

China was forced to concede decades ago that its communist system was unworkable and threatened the grip on power enjoyed by its leaders. Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping gradually introduced market reforms to convert the country from communism to free enterprise while maintaining strict control of the process to prevent any threat to the Chinese Politburo’s hold on power. As these market reforms gradually unfolded, China embarked upon an era of economic reform to reemerge from the disastrous Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedong and its massive famines responsible for the deaths of millions of Chinese. Accompanied by gradual political reforms, China began to become attractive to western companies interested in cheap Chinese labor. The manufacture of basic goods began to be shifted to China which then exported production back to markets in the United States. American manufacturing jobs were increasingly moved offshore to take advantage of cheaper Chinese labor as Chinese companies built upon their successes to be able to handle the manufacture of more complicated goods.

The transfer of American manufacturing to China has decimated the American labor force while enriching China to the point of becoming one of the wealthiest nations on earth and the largest foreign holder of sovereign American debt. American manufacturing workers have been reduced to government dependence while China practically enslaves its workers and exploits them to the point of suicide. Meanwhile, America becomes poorer as a country while China becomes wealthier and improves its manufacturing capability while American manufacturing deteriorates. The U.S. military must now rely upon the foreign manufacture of vital defense components for the production of the technologically advanced weapons systems upon which America depends for her defense.

Enriched by the short-sided transfer of American manufacturing technology and capability, and emboldened by the withdrawal of American leadership from around the world, China’s leaders have embarked upon an aggressive military buildup intended to put it on equal footing with the United States in terms of weapons technology and military strength. China has employed massive spying efforts to steal the technology it requires for this military buildup to avoid the trillions of dollars in research and development underwritten by the American government for production of its technologically advanced weapons systems. China has managed to steal the technology for our advanced systems while America has willingly exported to it the manufacturing capability necessary for its production and made the finance of these advanced weapons systems possible by enriching it through the purchase of the goods once manufactured here on America’s own shores.

China is currently flexing its newfound muscle in the South China Sea over which it claims as its exclusive sphere of control through the buildup of several of the Spratly Islands large enough to establish military facilities on what were once merely rocky outcroppings and atolls. The aggressive expansion of Chinese military activities in the South China Sea, along with the acquisition of aircraft carriers to distinguish it as a first-rate world power capable of exporting its military might, has become a constant worry to neighbors such as Japan which recently embarked upon its own program of military expansion. Given its role in WWII and its renouncement of offensive military capability made possible by its reliance upon American protection, this is a landmark action by Japan indicative of its worry that America will not be there for it when needed. The South China Sea is once again a flashpoint on the brink of war thanks to President Obama’s deliberate withdrawal of American leadership from the region.

The world has suddenly become a much more dangerous place without American leadership ensuring the spread of freedom and democracy and keeping regional hostilities to a minimum. No longer able to count on America as a consistent partner, world leaders have begun to act unilaterally to ensure the security of their countries while America is increasingly ignored as irrelevant. Countries watching their neighbors embark upon an arms buildup increasingly view this as a provocation and threat to be countered with their own arms buildup. Distrust and suspicion between neighbors increasingly leads to incidents which can quickly spiral out of control with unintended consequences. Those dedicated to destructive agitation are unleashed to sow their discord through terrorist acts that destabilize regimes and lead to regional conflict.

Those of us old enough to remember the Cold War and its threat of thermonuclear destruction have no wish to return to a time when the world was filled with flashpoints we feared could quickly escalate into the dreaded scenario of nuclear holocaust. We fear a nuclear armed Iran with its documented sponsorship of terrorist groups around the globe and penchant for destabilizing destruction. We had managed to grow quite comfortable with the peace that descended upon the world with the demise of the Soviet Union and its Axis of Evil. Younger generations cannot grasp the comfort we have enjoyed with the end of the Cold War and removal of the nuclear threat which hung over us as a constant in our lives.

Now President Obama wishes to bring back the threat of nuclear annihilation by allowing Iran, a bitter enemy dedicated to the destruction of America and its regional ally Israel, access to the most destructive weapon known to mankind. We Americans are just as distrustful of President Obama and his vague assurances as the rest of the world. We have watched him stonewall myriad investigations into criminal wrongdoing by his administration and sneer at his assurances of innocence in the face of overwhelming evidence. He has nudged the world to the brink of war in numerous flashpoints created by his withdrawal of American leadership all while assuring us that all is well. He is not to be trusted, and his assurances increasingly fall on deaf ears.

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One Response to Flashpoints

  1. BOHICA says:

    Great article.
    Two points: Saudi Arabia may be trying to escalate tensions with Iran in an attempt to drive oil futures up, as the low price is hurting all producers, plus Iran is trying to reenter the world oil market with the lifting of international sanctions seeming imminent. More oil on the market would make things worse, so Saudi Arabia may be engineering a continuation of sanctions prohibiting Iran from selling oil.
    Obama and those of his same world view, see America and the West as interfering with and tormenting the second and third world, and exploiting them for gain, not as powers trying to influence situations to establish and enhance stability in troubled areas. This is a direct result of his forebears’ involvement with the anticolonialism movement during the 20th century, not from American racial politics. We have seen the increase in instability and actual killing after America abandons leadership in these areas.

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