Free Markets, Free People

Does This Guy Even Begin To “Get It”?

On April 3-4, President Obama will attend a summit in Strasbourg, France and meet NATO leaders for the first time. One of the promises he made during his campaign for the presidency is he’d improve relations between the US and other countries around the globe. One would assume that means those who we are friendly with as well. Yet since taking office he has managed to humiliate the Brits, piss off the Mexicans (who’ve now applied tariffs on over 2 billion dollars worth of our agricultural exports), see us embarrassed in front of the Russians, and now, treated NATO like a bastard step-child.

On Wednesday afternoon, e-mails circulating between Brussels and Berlin suggesting that, within the course of the day, Washington would name General James N. Mattis as the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. The commander is in charge of all US troops in Europe as well as NATO deployments, including the ISAF security force in Afghanistan.

Traditionally, the United States appoints the supreme commander and the Europeans pick the NATO secretary general. The decision to appoint Mattis appeared to be a logical one. He has long carried the title “Supreme Allied Commander Transformation.”

In the end, though, Mattis didn’t get the appointment. Instead, Defense Minister Robert Gates announced that Admiral James Stavridis would be nominated for the highly prestigious position. The US Senate and the NATO Council must approve his nomination, but it appears likely he will get through. Gates said Stavridis was “probably one of the best senior military officers” in the US.

In Brussels, though, many felt bluffed. “America treats this like it’s purely an American matter — and they didn’t even give any hints about the appointment,” one NATO employee said. “The conspiratorial manner of the personnel search was almost reminiscent of the way the pope is selected,” Stefani Weiss, a NATO expert at the Bertelsmann Stiftung foundation in Brussels, told SPIEGEL ONLINE.

Not exactly the way NATO should be treated on the eve of a meeting in which it is clear that Obama is going to ask NATO nations to contribute more to the Afghanistan effort. As Ed Morrisey at Hot Air points out:

Democrats accused the Bush administration of “arrogance” in diplomatic efforts, mostly because we chose to bypass the UN and finish the Iraq War with our own coalition of partners. I doubt that Donald Rumsfeld, with all his New/Old Europe talk, would have appointed a Supreme Allied Commander without at least consulting the major partners in NATO. Obama’s decision to do that speaks to his own arrogance and a certain level of disdain for the Western military alliance.

Obama has spoken constantly during the past two years about the critical nature of the fight in Afghanistan, and how the Bush administration allowed themselves to get distracted by Iraq. He also criticized the damage Bush supposedly did to our alliances that hurt the Afghanistan effort. This snub looks a lot more direct and a lot more damaging than anything Bush did.

So, we’ll see what help NATO’s nations decide to offer in early April after this move.

And speaking of Afghanistan, the Obama administration is getting ready to present its strategy for our fight there. One of the first things expressed by Obama is the need for an exit strategy. Naturally that being the first thing mentioned by the new CiC bothers me. Although obviously true, I’m reminded that his “exit strategy” for Iraq was “get out, get out now and that will force the Iraqis to stand up and take charge.” I can’t help but wonder if that’s not going to be something reflected in his “new” Afghanistan strategy.

Then there’s this very strange report:

The US and its European allies are preparing to plant a high-profile figure in the heart of the Kabul government in a direct challenge to the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, the Guardian has learned.

The creation of a new chief executive or prime ministerial role is aimed at bypassing Karzai. In a further dilution of his power, it is proposed that money be diverted from the Kabul government to the provinces. Many US and European officials have become disillusioned with the extent of the corruption and incompetence in the Karzai government, but most now believe there are no credible alternatives, and predict the Afghan president will win re-election in August.

Now Hamid Karzai may not be the leader of choice in Afghanistan for most of the West, and he may essentially be the “mayor of Kabul” in a real sense. But, like it or not, he is the duly elected president of Afghanistan. What is being talked about here is technically a coup.

The proposal for an alternative chief executive, which originated with the US, is backed by Europeans. “There needs to be a deconcentration of power,” said one senior European official. “We need someone next to Karzai, a sort of chief executive, who can get things done, who will be reliable for us and accountable to the Afghan people.”

Really? And how do these people think those who voted in Karzai will greet such interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan? Do they suppose this is going to make the fight we have there easier? This is exactly what the Soviets did. Are they freakin’ nuts?

The risk for the US is that the imposition of a technocrat alongside Karzai would be viewed as colonialism, even though that figure would be an Afghan. Karzai declared his intention last week to resist a dilution of his power. Last week he accused an unnamed foreign government of trying to weaken central government in Kabul.

“That is not their job,” the Afghan president said. “Afghanistan will never be a puppet state.”

Can anyone think of a better way to create another class of enemy within the state of Afghanistan than to essentially depose their leader? Can you imagine the propaganda value of such a move to the Taliban who will surely say “we told you so?”

I’m getting a very bad feeling about all of this.


9 Responses to Does This Guy Even Begin To “Get It”?

  • You might be forgetting that all that criticism of Bush was a mimetic contagion begun on the far Left, leeched into the mainstream of the Democratic Party, and beaten out on the drums of the Left’s public relations firm (sometimes called “the media”).

    When it comes to Obama, “the world” can go get itself a life if it doesn’t like what he does. Doesn’t everybody out there in “the world” know that there are no enemies on the Left?

    Nobobdy cares about the NATO commander, or what the EU bureaucrats think about it. Most Americans, and rightfully so, have not even really gotten a clear picture of the EU, and won’t, until the U.S. is about to become a subsidiary of it. In fact, here’s a good question: do the public schools even mention NATO anymore? Isn’t that something from the Civil War and the Colonial era during which it was fought?

    O-Ba-Ma, O-Ba-Ma, O-Ba-Ma!

  • >>>> I’m getting a very bad feeling about all of this.


    My getting has done got gotten 🙂

  • In looking over the record of this administration thusfar, the record itself begs the question if it’s motives aren’t the destruction of everything they come in contact with. Consider; On any point, domestic policy, foreign policy, whatever; can you point to any more destructive path than the ones Obama has invariably chosen?

  • I’m still unsure of why Obama decided to annoy Sarkozy by sending Chirac  letter promising to work with him….

    He’s just an idiot. You see the way he was giggling in the 60 Mins interview? Man, had Bush done that, we’d have seen millions of “smirking chimp” allegations.

    Who’s the real smirking chimp now? (and lets lay the racial connotations aside here for sake of the rhetorical point)

  • Does the name or memory of  Ngo Dinh Diem mean anything.  Does anyone remember he was once the ruler of South Vietnam until a US supported coup replaced him in 1962.  Anyone remember how that particular experiment turned out?  Does anyone within the administration even know there is such a thing as history?

    I am starting to get a really bad feeling about all this.

    • RE: Ngo Dihn Diem

      My thoughts exactly.  They only thing we’ve got going for us in avoiding a repeat is that JFK’s CIA director was fairly competent, especially at the dirty stuff.  Has Panetta even managed to find his office yet?

  • My answer to your question Bruce is a resounding “no”.  From the looks of the comments, I am not alone.

  • Well, if The Guardian says it, it must be true.

  • These idiots are going.  To get us.  All.  Killed.