On Wednesday, the government of Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, which has now collapsed into civil war. Egypt is set to join in the Saudi effort even as Saudi Arabia establishes a no-fly zone. Meanwhile, rebels claimed that Yemen’s president, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, fled Aden in advance of their consolidation of power on the ground. And Iran, which has fomented the chaos in Yemen, has warned Saudi Arabia that it had taken a “dangerous step.”
The good news: In President Obama’s world, none of this is happening. It’s all Skittles and rainbows for the White House.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest insisted Wednesday that President Obama’s September 2014 characterization of Yemen as an anti-terror success story was perfectly accurate. Earnest told Jonathan Karl of ABC News, “The White House does continue to believe that a successful counter-terrorism strategy is one that will build up the capacity of the central government to have local fighters on the ground to take the fight to extremists in their own country.” Karl called the exchange “astounding.”
But Earnest wasn’t done. Ed Henry of Fox News incredulously asked, “The President said it’s a success. He was wrong, right? Why can’t you say he was wrong and we’re trying to fix it?”
Earnest answered, “We have put intense pressure on extremists inside of Yemen, and it has mitigated the threat that they have posed to the U.S. and the West.” Pressure, like calling the Houthis, who chant “Death to America, Death to Israel, a Curse on the Jews, and Victory to Islam,” a “legitimate political constituency.”
But it’s not like the White House is doing nothing about Yemen. Earnest explained the Obama administration’s powerful move for peace: “We would call on [the Houthis] to stop that instability and that violence and cooperate with this UN-led process to resolve the difference among all the sides.”
That solves that!
At the same moment the White House supports the Saudi airstrikes in Yemen, it acts as the air force for Iran in Iraq against ISIS. Beginning Wednesday, the U.S. launched airstrikes against ISIS in Tikrit, The Daily Beast noted that the airstrikes marked a shift in American policy, since “the American military has long insisted that it wouldn’t coordinate too closely with the Iranians, even as both forces fight a common enemy in Iraq: ISIS.” The Daily Beast reported some qualms from the Pentagon about “the implications of coming to the rescue of a failed Iranian-led effort.”
Meanwhile, the White House continues to negotiate a nuclear deal with the Iranians, even as the Iranians foment precisely the chaos in Yemen the White House opposes – or at least pretends to oppose. Secretary of State John Kerry, presumably while humming “Everything Is Awesome!” from The Lego Movie, said that the United States had no choice but to come to a deal with the Iranians, since if the United States were to “walk away from a plan that the rest of the world were to deem to be reasonable … the talks would collapse. Iran would have the ability to go right back spinning its centrifuges and enriching to the degree they want … and the sanctions will not hold.” This, of course, neglects the fact that the reason the sanctions will no longer hold is because the Obama administration has spent years undermining them. As for the deal itself, the Iranians now insist that no deal be reduced to writing, and that snap inspections of nuclear facilities play no role in the deal. The deal will reportedly be consummated with a pinky swear.
The shotgun strategy of diplomacy – if you fire at everyone, you’re bound to hit someone! – is the administration’s new “lead from behind.” Even Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, the Obama administration’s designated journalistic court Jew, was forced to briefly stop typing one-handed while gazing longingly at President Obama’s portrait to tweet, “Negotiating with the Iranians in Switzerland, bombing their allies in Yemen, bombing their enemies in Syria and Iraq. Makes sense.” (Minutes later, Goldberg went back to one-handed typing, tweeting, “People who blame mainly WH for current Middle East mess aren’t really focused on nature and history of Middle East mess.” Ah, well.)
Nearly every country in the Middle East is now at war, thanks in large part to the complete absence of any coherent policy from the world’s only superpower. And we are on every side of all of those wars. Iran and its associated forces are at war in Iraq (We support Iran in Iraq, but only after opposing Iran in Iraq.), Syria (Assad had to go until he didn’t.), Lebanon (We just took Hezbollah off the terrorist group list.), and Yemen (where we are okay with the Houthis, except when we support bombing them). Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinians are at war with Israel. (We fund Israel’s Iron Dome, but rip them when they exercise their right to self-defense and cut off arms shipments mid-war, then castigate them as non-democratic for not negotiating with terrorists.) Egypt (where we supported the Muslim Brotherhood and then the coup against the Muslim Brotherhood and then opposed the regime that ousted the Muslim Brotherhood) is at war with Libya (where we ousted Muammar Qadaffi and then watched as the state turned into a terrorist playpen) and Yemen. Saudi Arabia (whom we oppose in their efforts to stop Iranian nukes) is at war with Yemen (where we are on the side of the Saudis) and in a proxy war with Iran. (We’re not sure.) Tunisia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Syria are all in civil war. Now, there are reports that the Saudis and Jordanians and Egyptians are all seeking nuclear weapons not to fight Israel, but to counter Iran.
But at least President Obama has his Nobel Peace Prize. And his delusions.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.