March, 2016 United States

By Nawaf Obaid
Obama abandoned the Arab world. Riyadh is picking up the slack.
Following a thorough explication of Obama’s foreign policy doctrine in a recent Jeffrey Goldberg article, it is now clearer than ever that America and Saudi Arabia are on a collision course over strategic decisions in the Middle East. This is because the “Obama Doctrine” is diametrically opposed to the emerging “Salman Doctrine,” which the Kingdom is developing in order to restore peace and a modicum of stability to the region.

Agence France-Presse
Turkey and the US have agreed that a political settlement may be possible this year in Cyprus, the Mediterranean island divided for four decades.

 

by Raheem Kassam, Breitbart
Teddy bears, tears, candles, cartoons, murals, mosaics, flowers, flags, projections, hashtags, balloons, wreaths, lights, vigils, scarves, and more. These are the best solutions the Western world seems to come up with every few months when we are slammed by another Islamist terrorist attack. We are our own sickness.

 Aurel Braun
The new visit by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to Moscow is not a game-changer – it’s just a game that reveals President Barack Obama's real strategy to manage rather than resolve conflicts in an election year.

 

BY OLIVER TEMPEST 
The arrest of Reza Zarrab, the flamboyant, well-connected and controversial Iranian-Turkish gold trader, in US recently over a fraudulent scheme to help the Iranian government launder hundreds of millions of dollars and evade economic sanctions, has shaken the Turkish government and may reopen a 2013 corruption case that Ankara was trying to project as an attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


Author Uri Savir
Israeli-American relations are at an all-time low. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to meet President Barack Obama, as suggested by the White House, prior to the AIPAC conference on March 20 is another unprecedented blow to the relationship.

Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether Obama's renewed focus on the region has been enough to prevent a post-American order in Asia, writes Heydarian [Reuters]

Richard Javad Heydarian

Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether Obama's renewed focus on the region has been enough to prevent a post-American order in Asia, writes Heydarian [Reuters]
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference," the 20th-century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr once famously wrote. Arguably, this very much sums up the United States President Barack Obama's foreign policy doctrine and his valuation of American priorities in various regions.

Washington looks for 'existential threats' in all the wrong places.
Robert S. Leiken

America spent the last thirty years attacking illusory foes or defending purported friends in the Middle East, sacrificing blood and treasure, polarizing our polity and forfeiting influence. Our misadventures resemble a game of blindman’s buff, our record that of a perennial cellar-dwelling football team.
Consecutive American administrations turned the ball over several times without moving it downfield. We barge into Middle East conflicts like a drunken bar brawler. What induced this addiction?


BY TED RALL, Japan Times

NEW YORK – To her enemies and many of her supporters, the brief on Hillary Clinton is that she’s evil but smart. “Smart leadership for the 21st century,” declares her website. Cynical and calculating she may be, people say. Sure, she’s an opportunist. But she knows the American political system inside and out — so she’ll be able to work her Machiavellian magic as president. Hopefully, on our behalf.

Politics, United States

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump [Reuters]

 Hamid Dabashi
Despite the fact that the majority of US citizens dislike both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump after their respective victories in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Illinois, the Democratic and Republican frontrunners are now poised to combat their way into the White House.

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2015 [AP]

 

Marwan Bishara
Have you noticed how President Vladimir Putin does not prepare the political grounds or give any advance notice before he acts? Or how he seems not to give a damn about international public opinion?


BY MARK J. VALENCIA
SPECIAL TO THE JAPAN TIMES

KANEOHE, HAWAII – The South China Sea contretemps has taken a decided turn for the worse. The United States has upped the ante in its contest of wills with China by deploying an aircraft carrier strike group to the South China Sea. This came on the heels of a warning from U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter of “specific consequences” for China’s continued “aggressive” actions in the Sea.

By Stanley R. Sloan
The next president will have to redesign the U.S. relationship with Europe.
The NATO summit scheduled for July in Warsaw, Poland, will close out the Obama administration’s management of cooperation with America’s transatlantic allies. The president who comes to office in January 2017 will be called on to ensure that this relationship remains a vital support for American interests as well as a touchstone for Western values.

US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a meeting in the Oval Office

By ERIC R. MANDEL 
None of this was a surprise to anyone who was paying attention.

More than any other American president, Barack Obama seemed to be thinking about his legacy from the moment he took office, viewing himself as a transformative and iconic world figure. He received international accolades before he even began. His desire to humble America before the Muslim world in Cairo, his discomfort with American exceptionalism, his eagerness to apologize for America’s historical transgressions were rewarded with a Noble Peace Prize.

 

 By Benjamin Schaller
This article was originally published by the World Policy Institute

In many public debates around the globe, the narrative of ‘”Arctic War” has become the predominant narrative of the future of Arctic security:

 

When you think you’re the smartest person in the room, it’s tempting to make up your own grand strategy.

NIALL FERGUSON 
It is a criticism I have heard from more than one person who has worked with President Obama: that he regards himself as the smartest person in the room—any room. Jeffrey Goldberg’s fascinating article reveals that this is a considerable understatement. The president seems to think he is the smartest person in the world, perhaps ever.

GettyImages-513091164.jpg

Last month, the Obama administration released its 2017 budget proposal, including thousands of pages on the nearly $600 billion request for the Pentagon. That money is earmarked for a wide array of projects—$1.8 billion in procurement of equipment for the Special Operations Command, for instance, and $1.2 billion for the chemical and biological weapons defense program. In each case, the administration carefully explains the rationale and purpose for the budget request.

By Paul J. Saunders
A bit of success in the war-torn country does not beget success in other areas.
Many of those who seek a more functional U.S.-Russia relationship—in both Washington and Moscow—have hoped that cooperation in stabilizing Syria and combating the so-called Islamic State could provide an important new opportunity to stabilize U.S.-Russia ties as well. Unfortunately, this is likely to be considerably more difficult than some may expect. And even the optimists recognize that rebuilding U.S.-Russia relations will be quite challenging.

Anyone who visits Gaza cannot help but be struck by the humanity of ordinary people, writes Marsh [AP]

Saskia Marsh
More than 10 years have passed since Israeli settlers withdrew from Gaza. Life for the average Gazan has become markedly worse since - exacerbated, some would argue, by the election of Hamas in 2006 and its physical takeover of the territory in 2007.


Mark Leonard, Project Syndicate
MUNICH – The consequences of Russia’s intervention in Syria stretch far beyond the Middle East. The Kremlin’s military campaign has tilted the stalemate in favor of the government and derailed efforts to craft a political compromise to end the war. It also heralds the beginning of a new era in geopolitics, in which large-scale military interventions are not carried out by Western coalitions, but by countries acting in their own narrow self-interest, often in contravention of international law.

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis 
Turkey and Saudi Arabia have taken separate steps to break free from Washington's dictates on the Syrian issue and show their resistance to Russia's highhanded intervention in Syria. They are moving on separate tracks to signal their defiance and frustration with the exclusive pact between Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin which ostracizes Riyadh and Ankara on the Syrian question.


by Raymond Ibrahim, FrontPage Magazine
As Western politicians and other talking heads insist that the Islamic State ("ISIS") has "nothing whatsoever to do with Islam," not only does ISIS correctly implement Islamic law—whether by demanding jizya from subjugated Christians or by sexually enslaving "infidel" women—but even the "caliphate's" arcane jihadi tactics belong to Islam.

Simon Tisdall, theguardian
It may be a coincidence that apocalyptic American warnings that Mosul’s giant dam could imminently collapse, potentially killing 1 million Iraqis, come at the very moment when US and Iraqi forces are preparing an all-out assault on the city, the main stronghold of Islamic State (Isis) terrorists in the country.

By Perry Cammack
A problem that has confounded four presidents, and perhaps soon a fifth
Twenty-five years ago this week, on February 24, 1991, the first United States ground invasion of Iraq began. The first Bush administration had clear UN and congressional mandates to liberate Kuwait. More than thirty countries contributed ground forces, and the Soviet Union was a critical diplomatic partner.