This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Saudi’s Prince Faisal sharply rebukes Obama’s ‘free riders’ accusation
- The World View of President Barack Hussein Obama
Saudi’s Prince Faisal sharply rebukes Obama’s ‘free riders’ accusation
Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki bin al-Faisal Al Saud has written an article strongly rebuking President Barack Obama’s remarks branding as “free-riders” who “aggravate” him several of America’s allies, including Britain, France and Saudi Arabia. The accusations appeared in a lengthy Atlantic article by Jeffrey Goldberg, entitled “The Obama Doctrine – The U.S. president talks through his hardest decisions about America’s role in the world.”
According to Faisal:
No, Mr. Obama. We are not “free riders.” We shared with you our intelligence that prevented deadly terrorist attacks on America.
We initiated the meetings that led to the coalition that is fighting Fahish (ISIS), and we train and fund the Syrian freedom fighters, who fight the biggest terrorist, Bashar Assad and the other terrorists, Al-Nusrah and Fahish (ISIS). We offered boots on the ground to make that coalition more effective in eliminating the terrorists. […]
Your treasury department officials have publicly praised Saudi Arabia’s measures to curtail any financing that might reach terrorists. Our King Salman met with you, last September, and accepted your assurances that the nuclear deal you struck with the Iranian leadership will prevent their acquiring nuclear weapons for the duration of the deal. You noted “the Kingdom’s leadership role in the Arab and Islamic world.” The two of you affirmed the “need, in particular, to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities.”
Now, you throw us a curve ball. You accuse us of fomenting sectarian strife in Syria, Yemen and Iraq. You add insult to injury by telling us to share our world with Iran, a country that you describe as a supporter of terrorism and which you promised our king to counter its “destabilizing activities.”
Could it be that you are petulant about the Kingdom’s efforts to support the Egyptian people when they rose against the Muslim Brothers’ government and you supported it? Or is it the late King Abdullah’s (God rest his soul) bang on the table when he last met you and told you “No more red lines, Mr. President.”
Or is it because you have pivoted to Iran so much that you equate the Kingdom’s 80 years of constant friendship with America to an Iranian leadership that continues to describe America as the biggest enemy, that continues to arm, fund and support sectarian militias in the Arab and Muslim world, that continues to harbor and host Al-Qaeda leaders, that continues to prevent the election of a Lebanese president through Hezbollah, which is identified by your government as a terrorist organization, that continues to kill the Syrian Arab people in league with Bashar Assad?
No, Mr. Obama. We are not the “free riders” that to whom you refer. We lead from the front and we accept our mistakes and rectify them. We will continue to hold the American people as our ally and don’t forget that when the chips were down, and George Herbert Walker Bush sent American soldiers to repel with our troops Saddam’s aggression against Kuwait, soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder with soldiers. Mr. Obama, that is who we are.
According to the BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner, Obama’s criticism of the Saudis was “an extraordinary thing to say… the Saudis are really stung by this, and the fact that it’s Turki al-Faisal saying this needs to be taken seriously.”
The BBC reporters have always been fawning idolaters of President Obama, and the easiest way to see this is to look back at the BBC’s attitudes towards President George Bush: BBC reporters open ridiculing Bush with jokes to make him appear dumb, and even Tony Blair blasting the BBC’s anti-Americanism. The contrast between the vitriolicly hateful BBC then and the breathless adoration of President Obama today is enormous.
So Gardner chose his words very carefully when he was asked on the BBC World News why President Obama had made such a remarkable criticism of the Saudis (my transcription):
Well, President Obama wants he Middle East legacy to be that he’s the guy that made peace with Iran, and brought Iran in from the cold, and in a Middle East context, it’s sort of like Nixon reaching out to China. And he sees Saudis as being the stumbling block in this. He’s pretty fed up and feels that they are being obstinate. He just wants to put the Saudis and the Iranians in a room and say, guys, make peace, end your rivalry. And that isn’t going to happen, because if you look at the map — Saudi Arabia feels as I mentioned they feel pretty much surrounded actually. If you look at the map, there’s Hezbollah, which is the Iranian proxy in Lebanon, and they’re also present in Syria, and that’s a war where you’ve got Shia militia loyal to Iran in Iraq, so the Saudi fear is that Iran effectively controls five capitals in the Middle East.
Just to be clear, the five capitals that Gardner refers to are Tehran, Iran; Baghdad, Iraq; Damascus, Syria; Beirut, Lebanon; and Sanaa, Yemen. The Saudis are surrounded on all sides by Iranian proxies, a concept to which Obama appears to be oblivious.
This is what I mean when I say that President Obama came into office having no clue what is going on in the world, and after seven years still has no clue what is going on in the world. It is almost as if pieces of his mind are missing. He blames the Israeli leadership because for preventing him from solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, apparently not even aware that Hamas and Hezbollah are building tunnels and amassing rockets to attack Israel, and he blames the Saudis because the Saudis and Iranians do not get along. It simply boggles the mind that he has no grasp of these things.
Just to be clear for new readers, I wrote in May 2003 in “Mideast Roadmap – Will it bring peace?” that it would never work, because Generational Dynamics predicts that Arabs and Jews would be refighting the 1948 war that followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. I said that President Bush’s peace plan would fail, so it should not surprise anyone that I’m pointing out that President Obama’s peace plan is failing. However, you would think that twelve years later, after multiple Mideast wars between Israel and Hamas, Israel and Hezbollah, and Fatah and Hamas, that Obama would begin to understand these things, but he is totally oblivious to them. The Atlantic and Arab News and NBC News
The World View of President Barack Hussein Obama
The 22,000 word Atlantic article was apparently originally intended to be more idolatrous praise of President Obama’s foreign policy views, but it turned out to unintentionally expose a great deal of ignorance, balanced by arrogance and contemptuousness.
I’ll take one of the most important examples, the flip-flop about striking Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime when he killed hundreds of people with Sarin gas, after Obama had said the use of chemical weapons were a “red line” that would demand a response.
Obama says that the American experience in Vietnam influenced him: “So we dropped more ordnance on Cambodia and Laos than on Europe in World War II, and yet, ultimately, Nixon withdrew, Kissinger went to Paris, and all we left behind was chaos, slaughter, and authoritarian governments that finally, over time, have emerged from that hell.”
The story has been told many times. Obama took a walk around the White House lawn, and during the walk he decided to renege on his commitment. He says:
I’m very proud of this moment… The perception was that my credibility was at stake, that America’s credibility was at stake. And so for me to press the pause button at that moment, I knew, would cost me politically.
So President Obama was mainly worried about politics. But credibility was more than a perception. America’s credibility WAS at stake. But the decision to fight in Vietnam left behind “slaughter, and authoritarian governments,” but it never even occurs to him that his flip-flop on chemical weapons ALSO caused “slaughter, and authoritarian governments.” The loss of American credibility emboldened the jihadists that were coming from all over the world to fight against al-Assad, and those jihadists formed the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). But it never occurs to him that it was his flip-flopping, and loss of American credibility, that was a major contributor to the formation of ISIS.
Instead, he blames it on the French, the British, and the Saudis, saying: “Free riders aggravate me.” It’s now been three years since the flip-flop occurred, and Obama apparently has no idea what happened.
Here are some other comments on the Atlantic article.
For CNN, Frida Ghitis wrote a generally laudatory article on Obama’s policies, but wrote:
Syria is a total catastrophe, with nearly half a million dead, millions more displaced, the region destabilized, refugee flows at levels not seen since World War II and a terrorist group continuously surpassing its own level of brutality. No, if Obama wants to talk about his accomplishments, he should steer clear of Syria. […]
Obama clearly thinks highly of himself, as he should. … In a telling anecdote, Obama is sitting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is lecturing him about the Middle East. He interrupts him to say, “I’m the African-American son of a single mother, and I live here, in this house. I live in the White House. I managed to get elected president of the United States. You think I don’t understand what you’re talking about, but I do.
Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson wrote a lengthy point by point critical analysis of the Obama doctrine in the Atlantic, beginning with this:
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.
Power corrupts in subtle ways. It appears to have made Obama arrogant. As described in Goldberg’s story, he is impatient to the point of rudeness with members of his own administration. His response to Secretary of State John Kerry when he hands him a paper on Syria is: “Oh, another proposal?” “Samantha, enough,” he snaps at [Samantha Powers], the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “I’ve already read your book.” We learn, too, that he “secretly disdains … the Washington foreign-policy establishment.”
Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute writes:
The Obama that emerges from the Atlantic interview is preternaturally icy, contemptuous of both his adversaries and his own staff, thin-skinned, angry, and oddly self-satisfied. That character portrait aside, it would have been nice if the article had shed light on the worldview that governs Obama’s decisions. Rather, it illuminated the fact that he doesn’t have a worldview. Instead, the president of the United States has opinions, and lots of them. And people he really doesn’t like, and lots of them. And countries he thinks don’t count, like those that make up the Sunni Middle East. …
And seven years into his presidency, Obama clearly also still defines himself as the anti-George W. Bush. One thread that emerges in this portrait of the president is that seven years in, when confronted with a challenge, he still silently asks himself, “What would Bush do?” — and then does the opposite.
As I’ve written many times, I was fooled by Obama. When Obama was campaigning in 2008 and said incredibly stupid things (“the earth will heal and the tides will recede”), I assumed that those were just silly campaign promises, and that if he won the election he’d become more sensible. But what I didn’t fully understand is that, as is the case of many Gen-Xers, his hatred of Boomers and his father’s generation is so deep that it trumps everything else, which has led to one major foreign policy disaster after another. To this day, Obama has no idea what’s going on in the world, except that Bush is at fault. Prince Faisal’s remarks suggest as much.
Obama was going to unify the nation and make the world love America again. He’s failed disastrously, because somebody who is so driven by hatred is going to make one stupid decision after another, and allow campaign promises to become irrelevant. This is something that you should think about, Dear Reader, as you decide whom to support for President. The Atlantic and CNN and American Enterprise Institute
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Jeffrey Goldberg, Barack Obama, Saudi Arabia, Prince Turki bin al-Faisal Al Saud, BBC, Frank Gardner, Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah, George Bush, Britain, France, Iran, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Frida Ghitis, Niall Ferguson, Danielle Pletka, Samantha Power
Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail