The initial repercussions to President Obama dithering and retreating from enforcing his Syrian chemical weapons use “red line” have begun and the ramifications are far more damaging to world peace and security than anything that Syria’s Civil War could ever produce. The initial shot across the bow came from Turkey where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated, “According to my plan, most probably I would be visiting Gaza in June.” Erdogan added referring to his intents to visit both Hamas leadership in Gaza and Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, “I place a lot of significance on this visit in terms of peace in the Middle East. I’m hoping that that visit will contribute to unity in Palestine.”
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki responded to the news declaring that, “As we’ve said consistently, we oppose engagement with Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization which remains a destabilizing force in Gaza and the region. We urge all parties who share our interest in the creation of a Palestinian state to take steps that promote the resumption of peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.” Additionally, Secretary of State John Kerry commented during his visit to Turkey that Prime Minister Erdogan’s trip to Gaza would be “better delayed” waiting until the time when the “right circumstances” existed. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan struck back indignantly stating in response to Secretary Kerry’s impositions that “we wish he had not said that.”
Now the United States and the Obama Administration are facing a situation of explaining to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu exactly what he gained and where were the promised reconciliations with Turkey that President Obama had implied as a promise should Israel apologize. The Israeli-Turkish relations remain in a deep freeze with the charges and other legal actions by Turkish citizens and government agencies proceeding apace despite the humbling position Netanyahu was forced into taking at the close of President Obama’s visit, the visit where the President had promised there would be no surprises. The result is a slightly weakened Israel who now has been forced into a submissive position with Turkey and appearing weaker to the entire run of nations in the Middle East and the rest of the Muslim World. The full ramifications of President Obama’s miscalculations and consistent demands on Israel along with his weakness showed Syria and his apparent subservience to the Muslim Brotherhood as he supports their rise to power resultant from the Arab Winter, Obama’s Arab Spring.
On another front which also has ramifications in Syria and throughout the Middle East comes from Russia. Despite the ramifications presented to Russian President Vladimir Putin by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on a recent visit in Moscow which advised that the selling of the anti-aircraft S-300 advanced missile systems to Syria thus changing dramatically the balance of power in the Middle East, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated in an interview with Lebanese-based Al-Mayadeen television, the Russian government “committed to the agreements” signed with Syria regarding the advanced missiles and will “fully carry them out.” Lavrov further explained, “We have no intention of breaking international law. However, we do not want our reputation as reliable suppliers of weapons to be affected.” These statements came two days after Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit leaving no doubt whether the ramifications and effects on Israel were known and able to be part of the equation.
Further comments on what other driving influences were behind the Russian’s decision were recently provided by Russian parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Alexei Pushkov. His supplementary information paints a troubling picture of the credibility possessed by President Obama and on his ability to influence anything concerning world affairs. Alexei Pushkov was quoted to say, “We’re opposed to no-fly zones, because they are the first step toward aerial attack. Syria asked Russia to help it defend itself from aerial assault.” He also went further in explaining that Russia’s decision to send S-300 missile systems to Syria is, in part, a message to the United States. A more forceful message was also made with the deployment of at least twelve warships to patrol near a Russian Navy base in Syria. This was likely to be a message to all parties including NATO members and Israel not to interfere in Syria as Russia will act to defend their interests.
Both of these situations cast strong aspersions on the ability of President Obama to apply pressure or power in any situation anywhere in the world. This is an obvious reaction to President Obama’s timidity concerning the reported use by Syrian troops’ use of chemical weapons. The rules of unintended consequences applies to these actions which were primarily resultant of President Obama’s inept mishandling over the Syrian red line threat yet Israel will also pay a hard price as well. Reinforcing these feelings were also the well documented examples of his slow and tepid response to any military situation. These include but are not limited to President Obama taking months to approve the mission against Osama bin Laden after he was advised that all was prepared and certainty of success was extremely high, his complete lack of concern in addressing the situation in Benghazi where the American Ambassador to Libya Stevens and three others were murdered when had immediate actions been taken or even proper security increased in a timely manner after receiving requests for more readiness, and the President dithering and almost losing the opportunity to interdict Somali pirates holding American hostages. One more item which has the potential to have devastating consequences is the Iranian drive for nuclear weapons. How is it possible for any world leader concerned over the Iranian nuclear program take seriously President Obama’s promise that he will act if such becomes necessary. He did not act in Benghazi, nor did he act after the Syrian use of chemical weapons, he took close to six months to pull the trigger on the Osama bin Laden raid, so how could anyone expect a timely response to prevent the Iranians from attaining not just one nuclear device but tens or even hundreds of such devices before President Obama even begins to consider acting. This threat does not only pose a large problem for Israel as it also has serious ramifications for Saudi Arabia and the other members of the GCC as well as Europe, though the Europeans have blinders on and refuse to even notice any threat. The world is facing the same type of threats that were evident towards the end of President Carter’s term in office with the Iranian Hostage Crisis, a Middle East on fire, and a Soviet threat spreading throughout much of the planet. The main difference is we will have four full years of these ramifications and not just ten to fifteen months as was the case with Jimmy Carter. President Obama will very likely fulfill the prediction some who were at the time dismissed as alarmist pessimists when claiming that he would be another President Carter except on steroids. If even the slightest possibility exists that such may prove true, that should scare the life out of anybody, it sure does many of us here at BTC.
Beyond the Cusp