The Boston bombings only underscore a reality that has been quite apparent to the Obama administration: the scourge of extremism is constantly seeping into the Internet through the so-called Saudi-trained or Wahhabi-influenced “imams” who have nothing better to do but to propagate anger and hatred toward everything Western, including democracy, Islamic moderation, the Shias, the Ahmadiyas, and even Harry Potter movies! The international dissemination centers for Islamic extremism are located in Riyadh as well as in other major cities of Saudi Arabia. So, a global solution for stemming the tide of extremism must initiate from Saudi Arabia, and the Obama administration has to prompt an acute campaign toward that end.
When it comes to nuclear deterrence, there is no difference between how it is perceived among the nuclear rabbis of Israel and the nuclear mullahs of Iran. The nuclear rabbis are the Likudniks and other right wing politicians of Israel’s official community who are committed to saving the Jewish state through the use of nuclear weapons. The nuclear mullahs are their Muslim counterparts of the Islamic republic who hold similar views about the use of nuclear weapons. The chief difference is that the perception of the nuclear rabbis is deemed sacred, valid, and legitimate in Washington and in other Western capitals, while that of the nuclear mullahs is regarded as phony. As such, the nuclear deterrence of the mullahs is not regarded as a serious rationale for the survival of the Iranian government. However, as a concept, nuclear deterrence is supposed to be valid, since it becomes the chief rationale forwarded by Israel and Iran to establish legitimacy of their respective nuclear weapons, while declaring that legitimacy as invalid for the other state. The ayatollahs are fully aware of that reality.
The resignation of General David H. Petraeus after the FBI’s stunning disclosure of an illicit affair with his one-time biographer, Paula Broadwell, makes one wonder why this legendary character became so determined to destroy his own ostensibly indestructible myth. The answer is hidden in the making of a legend, which, more often than not, is based more on fiction than reality. Petraeus was known as a brilliant general, a strategic thinker, and a resilient warrior. He emerged as the hero of America’s arguable victory in Iraq, when such possibility appeared remote. He coauthored the counterinsurgency doctrine to win the Iraq war and was expected to apply that doctrine in Afghanistan in order to destroy the fighting spirit of the Taliban. His detractors underscored his alleged opportunism, and his political savviness about promoting his career. Undoubtedly, both sides described him accurately. He did not go to the extreme of his predecessor and one of his heroes, Douglas McArthur, about promoting his own mythical legend. However, it is hard to believe that he was not cognizant of exploiting opportunities toward that purpose. Continue reading “The Hard Fall of A Superhero”
President Barack H. Obama’s announcement of his new strategy on December 1, 2009, conclusively makes the war in Afghanistan “Obama’s war of choice.” The President spoke from one of the hallowed symbols of America’s military power–the United States Military Academy at West Point. Gone is the rhetoric of the wastefulness of Bush’s war of choice in Iraq, when candidate Obama was “speaking truth to power.”
Continue reading “Afghanistan as Obama’s “War of Choice””
The real test of President Barack H. Obama’s dealing with China and Russia will emerge in his success to persuade those countries to support the U.S. in pressuring Iran to give up its nuclear weapons aspirations. Obama has reported to have lobbied China on that issue during his recent visit. He also broached Russia in the recent past for the same purpose, but with little success. Iran denies having such aspirations, but Washington has no faith in those denials.
Continue reading “Obama’s Challenge: Building Sino-Russian Support on Denuclearizing Iran”
President Barack H. Obama’s recently concluded trip to East Asia has created an irrational buzz in the American media about how the declining hegemon is increasingly behaving as such, and how China seems to be exploiting that perception to further its own advantages. The second part of this buzz is not contentious, since all great and small powers operate to maximize their advantages. However, the first part of that buzz is indeed controversial. This type of analysis may not be highly conducive to Obama’s palpable desire to promote multilateralism, both regionally and globally.
Continue reading “America’s Irrational Expectations About China’s Rise”
The Obama administration is entering a crucial phase of its existence. President Barack Obama is about to determine his new strategy governing the Afghan war. He has a lot at stake because wars have a bizarre way of making heroes and villains out of presidents and prime ministers.
On the front page of Saturday’s Financial Times (September 26, 2009) there was a somber looking picture of the American President Barack H. Obama, U.K.’s Premier Gordon Brown, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy heading toward a podium to address the world press condemning Iran’s secret uranium enrichment plant near the city of Qom. The United States and its allies believe that Iran is getting closer to making nuclear weapons. However, the how much closer is still a matter of speculation.
Continue reading “Getting Serious About Denuclearizing Iran”
In the information age, the worst pressure on a world leader with the stature of the American president comes from the media and self-styled pundits who regularly pass judgment on his success and failure on various major domestic and foreign policy issues that capture attention. What gives these pundits an edge over the “informed public” is that these pundits have time, the gift of the gab, and outlets available to publicize their visions of the future, which they see through their highly clouded lenses.
The administration of President Barack H. Obama has started the highly intricate process of developing its own strategy with a bang in different regions of the world. Here are the ingredients of that strategy: multilateralism, looking for a fresh start–which promises to be substantially different from the preceding administration–search for common ground involving Russia, invitation of negotiations with America’s traditional adversaries like Iran and North Korea, and at least the initial hope that approaches toward Palestine, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are likely to be radically different than the one the Bush administration pursued unsuccessfully. This is a huge agenda. But Obama’s administration has the enormous characteristic of freshness, metaphorically as well as substantively, in the sense that it is not carrying any baggage that had so infamously bogged down George W. Bush in an ostensibly endless inertia.